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Won’t make CBI lead probe agency for loan defaults: FM

Won’t make CBI lead probe agency for loan defaults: FM
The government on Tuesday said there is no proposal to make CBI the lead agency for investigating all major corporate loan default cases. In reply to a question whether the government is considering a proposal to make CBI the lead agency for probing all major corporate loan default cases, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Rajya Sabha said, “No Sir.”

In a separate response, the Finance Minister said the government has issued advisory to all State Level Bankers’ Committees to take immediate steps to mitigate the hardship of farmers in according with the guidelines issued by the RBI or the government in view of the recent unseasonal rains and hailstorms.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has issued standing guidelines for relief measures to be provided by respective lending institutions in areas affected by natural calamities. The relief measures include identification of beneficiaries, extending fresh loans and restructuring of existing loans and moratorium etc, he said. “The moment calamity is declared by the concerned district authorities, these guidelines have been so designed that they are automatically set in motion without any intervention and this saves precious time,” he said.

In another reply, Jaitley said, the Department of Revenue has the highest amount of arrears of non-tax revenue to the tune of Rs 98,664.27 crore over a period of five years. It is followed by Department of Telecommunication with arrears of Rs 46,796.29 crore and Ministry of Home Affairs Rs 15,257.39 crore. “While making estimates of non-tax revenue, instructions are issued to make a realistic assessment of interest due from Public Sector Undertakings and other loanees taking into account the need to ensure that the loanees fully discharge their current interest obligations,” he said.

“Financial performances of PSUs is regularly reviewed to ensure that the amount due as dividend have been paid as per the procedure and extant guidelines,” he added. 

The Government has initiated a large number of reforms in its first year of governance to encourage investments and the country has the potential to grow at 9-10 per cent, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said. “I do believe that India has a 9 or 10 per cent growth potential. To achieve that we have to invest a lot into rural infrastructure and irrigation that’s one area we can move up,” he said. Besides, he said, a lot of investment is required in the infrastructure sector so that it has beneficial impact on manufacturing.

“It’s only then we can achieve a 9 to 10 per cent growth rate and once we are able to do it for a decade or so, we can lower poverty rate. It’s only then I will feel excited about it,” he said in an interview to CNBC TV in Baku, capital city of Azerbaijan. Jaitley was in Baku to attend the annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank. 

The NDA government will on May 26 complete one year in power following last year’s general elections. “Never in the Indian history, we have had the government which in the first one year has undertaken such a large number of reforms,” he said. The government has opened up almost every sector for investment, he said, adding that whether it is domestic or international “there is an additionality of investment”. 

“We are trying as far as possible to ease our processes and when I say ease our processes, environment clearances are much faster, infrastructure projects are now pushed, people don’t get harassed, there is no single whisper of corruption,” he added. On Goods and Services Tax (GST), Jaitley said, there is broadly consensus on the issue.

“I have convened several meetings of state finance ministers. I have spoken to most political parties and broadly there is a large consensus,” he said. “At the end of the day, it benefits the states. It’s going to benefit India’s GDP. It’s going to facilitate a seamless transfer of goods and services across the country. It will increase quantum of tax collection, it will reduce harassment,” he said. 

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