Bad loans: The bungling and farce continues

Bad loans: The bungling and farce continues: In mid-June, the RBI wanted 12 select cases of bad loans be fast-tracked at NCLT...

                                                        Jumping to conclusions

This refers to Debashis Basu’s piece “Bad loans: The bungling and farce continues” (tandard, Irrational Choice, July 10). Being a regular reader of ‘Irrational Choice’ I am tempted to take the author’s claim that he could prophecy the current stressed assets management scenario last year, at face value. I wish policy makers take columnists more seriously!
I believe, Centre and RBI are interested in moving forward in the direction of clearing the stressed assets mess in the banking sector by doing whatever is needed to overcome the initial hurdles they are facing. Action by regulators and governments will continue to be subject to judicial scrutiny and where there is a will, always there will be a way. One need not get disheartened by the view taken by Gujarat High Court over the RBI’s selection of top defaulters. Earlier also, GOI and statutory bodies in India have got over such issues by ‘following legally valid procedures’.
Just as opening several thousands of schools has not helped India become 100 per cent literate, the measures taken in 2014 onwards will not extinguish bad assets of the banking system that fast. Showering abuses at RBI or discrediting every initiative by GOI and regulators to put in place mechanisms to resolve a long pending problem will improve the readership of a column or a newspaper. But when a government and the central bank are jointly making some earnest efforts to meet the challenges which have arisen from decades of pampering of the rich and the powerful by a political system, efforts to divert attention from the main menu could easily get exposed.
It would be telling the obvious that more bad loans are on the books of public sector banks. But business share of public sector banks also continues to be over 70 per cent. Has anybody bothered to know why private sector banks did not try to occupy more geographical space and grow post-nationalisation of banks in India? Answer lies partly in the concluding observation recorded by the author: “Deep vested interests of academics, lawyers, bankers and accountants, who would like to feed off a clogged system as long as possible”. May be some from these categories have become rich and powerful and are part of the ‘establishment’ today!

M G Warrier, Mumbai


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