Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presents the White Paper on the Indian Economy in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.
In September 2013, the gross NPA ratio, including restructured loans, climbed to 12.3 per cent “largely because of political interference by the UPA government”
The banking sector was facing a crisis around 2014 when the Modi government came into power. According to the White Paper on the Indian Economy tabled by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Lok Sabha on February 8, when the Vajpayee-led NDA government left office in 2004, gross non-performing assets stood at 7.8 per cent. In September 2013, this ratio, including restructured loans, had climbed to 12.3 per cent “largely because of political interference by the UPA government”.
“The banking crisis was one of the most important and infamous legacies of the UPA government. When the Vajpayee-led NDA government took office, the Gross non-performing assets ratio in public sector banks was 16 per cent, and when they left office, it was 7.8 per cent. In September 2013, this ratio, including restructured loans, had climbed to 12.3 per cent largely because of political interference by the UPA government in the commercial lending decisions of public sector banks. Worse, even that high percentage of bad debts was an underestimate,” according to the ‘White Paper on the Indian Economy’.
According to the document, gross advances by public sector banks were only Rs 6.6 lakh crore in March 2004. In March 2012, it surged to Rs 39 lakh crore. “Further, not all problem loans were recognised. There was much under the hood.”
The White Paper also said cited a Credit Suisse report published in March 2014, which said that the top-200 companies with an interest coverage ratio of less than one owed about Rs 8.6 lakh crore to banks. “Nearly 44 per cent of those loans (Rs 3.8 lakh crore) were yet to be recognised as problem assets. That alone would have added another 6.7 per cent to the GNPA ratio,” it said.
On NPA, the white paper also cited a former RBI Governor who in 2018, in a written response to a Parliamentary Panel, stated, “a larger number of the bad loans were originated in the period 2006-2008.”
There was “a mountain of bad loans, a high fiscal deficit despite much of it being hidden, a high current account deficit, double-digit inflation for five years which hit the pockets of many Indians and membership of the club of “Fragile Five” in 2013″.
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