Underlining that 87 persons owe more than Rs 85,000 crore to public sector banks (PSBs), the Supreme Court said on Monday that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) should not work in the interest of the banks but in the interest of the country which calls for disclosing the names of the biggest defaulters.
After going through a list of defaulters submitted in a sealed cover envelope by the RBI, a bench led by Chief Justice of India T S Thakur disclosed that there are 87 individuals who owe Rs 500 crore or more to the banks and bad loans on account of their default to repay totalled Rs 85,000 crore.
“See this amount…if we had asked for details of those who owe Rs 100 crore, this could be another Rs 1 lakh crore…why should we not put the names of these defaulters in public domain? The RBI publishes a list of wilful defaulters every year. It does not matter whether they are wilful defaulters or not but they certainly owe Rs 500 crore and more to the banks… people may have a right to know,” said the bench, also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and L N Rao.
RBI was asked to explain the huge amount of loans written off by PSBs in the last five years after the top court took suo motu cognizance of The Indian Express report dated February 8, 2016, that Rs 1.14 lakh crore had been written off as Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) by 29 state-owned banks in the last three years.
All-India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) today threatened to make public the names of top 7,000 wilful corporate loan defaulters who have defrauded around Rs 70,000 crore.
The union also demanded filing criminal cases against these defaulters.
AIBEA General Secretary C H Venkatachalam also said around 10 lakh employees and officials would go on a one-day strike, called by nine unions on July 29 to oppose what he calls the “anti-people banking reforms being pushed by the government.”
“Wilful defaulters have taken loans for some purpose but have diverted and misused the money. There are around 7,000 big companies who are wilful defaulters and they owe Rs 70,000 crore to the system. We will reveal their names in a few days,” Venkatachalam said here.
He accused the government of going soft on these big defaulters saying, “we believe the government is soft on wilful defaulters. We want to know why no criminal action is taken against them, but only civil suits are being filed against them?”
Expressing concern over the delay in implementation of projects related to investments, Assocham said it could adversely impact the ‘Make in India’ programme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “The campaign launched with much fan-fare aimed to provide domestic and overseas investors with an environment that is conducive to manufacturing, but the delay in implementation of investment projects is denting the sentiment of the investors. Assocham Secretary General DS Rawat told PTI.
“This even may put an adverse impact on hopes for the success of Make in India campaign,” he said. Investment announcements were being made, but ultimately investments were not happening at the ground level. At the same time some of the investments have been facing long time delays mainly due to red tapism, which hurt the sentiment of investors and also incur huge loss to the investors, Rawat said. “In such a situation government needs to have a strong plan to prioritise for cleaning up of delayed projects in the form of effective implementation and it would be only possible when appropriate target-oriented roadmap has been created for authorities as well as investors,” he said. Therefore, Government needs to limit the timeframe for each clearance authority, failing which it should be penalised.
BAD LOANS For the year-ending March 2015, gross NPAs of scheduled commercial banks stood at Rs 3.02 lakh crore in absolute terms, or 4.6 per cent of total advances. Six months later, this rose to 5.1 per cent. The stressed advances ratio — stressed assets is defined as bad loans plus loans that have been restructured by banks — increased to 11.3 per cent in September 2015 from 11.1 per cent in March. Private estimates of stressed assets, however, are significantly higher and vary between 17.5 per cent and a quarter of all bank advances.
Incremental investments, or projects being implemented, saw an uptrend in Q3FY16, reports fe Bureau in Mumbai, citing CMIE data. However, the uptick appears unsustainable since it was driven by a one-off spend by a private telecom player and, moreover, the government is expected to prune capex towards the end of the year so that it can rein in the deficit. Given how stalled projects increased for the second consecutive quarter, albeit at a gradual pace, it’s hard to see any meaningful improvement in the investment climate.
Standard Chartered points out that Rs 10.8 lakh crore of aggregate stalled projects pose a major headwind to any revival.
New announcements slowed in the three months to December, led by the private sector; this is the first slowdown since late 2013. Given capacity utilisation is at around 70-75%, capex will pick up in FY17 only if there’s better visibility on demand and the global economy shows signs of a sustainable recovery.
“In response to a number of inquiries Qualcom has received from various Indian wireless operators regarding the sale of Qualcomm’s BWA spectrum, Qualcomm.
The 7th Pay Commission’s recommendations will take a heavy toll on fragile finances of states and force them to scale back their development spends, Niti Aayog Member Bibek Debroy says.
He felt that once the Centre implements the recommendations, it’s “impossible” for the states to hold back a hike in their employees’ salaries.
“There are serious repercussions arising from the 7th Pay panel report, as in the two earlier Pay Commissions, on finances of states, which will go for a toss,” he told PTI over the weekend here.
“Typically, what every state does is that if starved for cash, slash capital expenditure or development spends,” Debroy, one of three full-time members of the National Institution for Transforming India (Niti Aayog), said.
Over the years, most states have improved their finances on the back of faster growth and the states are better-placed than the Centre on the fiscal front.
He added that the Railways, which is already reeling under financial constraints, will also suffer as wages go up.
In a big bonanza for the central employees and pensioners, the Pay Commission last week recommended a 23.55 per cent increase in salaries, allowances and pension, along with a virtual one-rank-one-pension for civilians, involving an additional outgo of Rs 1.02 lakh crore per annum.
Investments into Indian markets through participatory notes (P-Notes) has surged to the highest level in over seven years at Rs 2.72 lakh crore (over $43 billion) in March 2015.
P-Notes, mostly used by overseas HNIs (High Networth Individuals), hedge funds and other foreign institutions, allow such investors to invest in Indian markets through registered Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs).
This saves time and costs for investors, but the flip side is that the route can also be used for round tripping of black money.
According to the data released by Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), the total value of P-Note investments in Indian markets (equity, debt and derivatives) rose to Rs 2,72,078 crore at the end of March from Rs 2,71,752 crore in the preceding month.
This is the highest investment since February 2008, when the cumulative value of such investments stood at Rs 3.23 lakh crore.
Inflows from overseas investors hit a record high as they pumped in over Rs.2.7 lakh crore into the Indian capital markets last fiscal, which ended on March 31, 2015.
Foreign Institutional Investors made a net equity investment of Rs. 1.09 lakh crore in 2014-15, and a further Rs. 1.64 lakh crore into debt markets — Rs. 2.73 lakh crore in all, as per the latest data available with Central Depository Services Ltd (CDSL).
This was the highest net inflow by FIIs since being allowed to invest in Indian capital markets (equity and debt) over two decades ago in November 1992. The previous high was in 2012-13, when the net investments climbed to Rs. 1.68 lakh crore.
These investors got re-christened as FPIs or Foreign Portfolio Investors in the current fiscal under a new regulatory regime that promises to make it easier for them to invest in India. They have emerged as the key drivers of the market rally here and are likely to remain so.
FIIs had made a net infusion of nearly Rs. 80,000 crore into equity markets during 2013-14, while a record high amount of Rs. 1.4 lakh crore was pumped in the preceding financial year.
This is the fourth time in history that net FII inflows for a year have crossed the Rs. 1 lakh crore mark and analysts are optimistic about the current fiscal year as well. However, they had pulled out about Rs.28,000 crore from the debt markets in 2013-14.
According to market analysts, foreign investors remained bullish on the Indian equities and debt markets throughout the fiscal year 2014-15, mainly on account of several reform measures taken by the Central Government.
Experts believe that the inflows will remain equally strong or become even better in the current fiscal in view of Parliament clearing Bills related to insurance, coal allocation and mining as well as assurances in the Budget to revisit controversial tax areas like General Anti-Avoidance Rule.
The Food Corporation of India’s (FCI) procurement operations could come to a halt by February unless it is paid a good part of its outstanding dues of a record Rs 58,000 crore soon.
For the Centre, which has admitted to a tax revenue buoyancy overestimate of R1 lakh crore, and could face a shortfall of R20,000 crore in disinvestment receipts, the demand from the FCI could not have come at a worse time.
Official sources told FE that for FCI, which is somehow managing the minimum support price (MSP) operations of wheat and rice at present thanks to the three short-term bank loans of R20,000 crore taken since the start of the current fiscal, the ability to sustain the operations is already waning. These loans carry an interest of 11.28%, which gets added to the government’s food subsidy burden.
The food ministry has requested the finance ministry for R1.47 lakh crore (including R92,000 crore budgeted for FCI’s MSP functions and overall food subsidy arrears from previous years) in the current fiscal, a tall order given the Centre’s strained fiscal situation.