India’s largest bank, State Bank of India (SBI), has written off bad loans worth Rs 76,600 crore of 220 defaulters who owed the bank more than Rs 100 crore each, a CNBC-News18 RTI query has revealed.
As on March 31, 2019, the SBI has declared as unrecoverable an amount of Rs 37,700 crore which 33 borrowers, with loans of Rs 500 crore and more, owed to it. We also know that 200 brand new Mercedes Benz cars have been delivered to their owners in Mumbai and Gujarat this Navaratri season.
The question is whether we, the citizens of India, 9,00,000 of whom have to survive on Rs 25,000 for the next six months as PMC Bank depositors can’t withdraw more following an RBI diktat, have the right to know the names of the 220 defaulters and if any of them bought a new luxury car this festive season.
The citizens include senior citizens, many of whom depend on retail fixed deposits to survive. We also know that SBI, two days back, cut interest rate on savings accounts with balance up to Rs 1 lakh to 3.25 per cent from 3.5 per cent. SBI has a deposit base of over Rs 28 lakh crore. SBI has also cut interest rate of retail fixed deposits or FDs by 10 basis points for ‘1 year to less than 2 years’ maturity with effect from October 10, 2019.
Remember BSNL employees have not been paid for months. Remember that the automobile sector has seen more than 3,50,000 job losses this year.
But, we also know that as on March 31, 2019, Punjab National Bank (PNB) had waived off debts of at least Rs 100 crore each in respect of 94 borrowers. The gross amount came out to be Rs 27,024 crore, with an average of Rs 287 crore per account. PNB also wrote off loans of Rs 500 crore or more for 12 biggest defaulters, totaling Rs 9,037 crore.
IDBI Bank (in which LIC has invested heavily), Canara Bank, Bank of India, Corporation Bank, Bank of Baroda, Central Bank of India, Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, Indian Overseas Bank and others also have sizeable exposure to these so-called unrecoverable mammoth loans.
With the economy faltering with all core sector growths in the negative, worst employment situation in 45 years, drop in consumer demand and a nearly stagnant rural economy, we actually need to question who exactly is the system working for. And we need to question the fundamental motives of those who are running the system.