April 04 2020
Help to speed up NPA recovery, Pranab tells DRT chiefs
07 June 2012

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, on Wednesday, asked chiefs of debt recovery and appellate tribunals to suggest ways and means of expediting the release of bank resources locked up in the form of NPAs (non-performing assets).

Addressing the first conference of chairpersons of DRATs (debt recovery appellate tribunals) and presiding officers of DRTs (debt recovery tribunals) here, Mr. Mukherjee pointed out that there could be no fresh lending unless there was recovery of earlier loans and, therefore, the problem of increasing NPAs of banks had to be addressed on a priority basis.

Even as the government has advised banks to closely monitor their NPAs, Mr. Mukherjee argued that the role of DRTs was all the more important as they were the part of mechanism for recovery of loss of assets by banks by way of bad loans.

Asking the tribunal chiefs to come out with ‘concrete suggestions' to improve their functioning and help in speedier recovery of bank debts, Mr. Mukherjee noted that the conference was being held at a time when the Indian economy was faced with various challenges.

In the event, although the slowdown in the GDP growth rate, coupled with the widening fiscal and current account deficits were a matter of concern, there “is no need to press the panic button as he has full faith in the capacity and abilities of our people as well as in the resilience of the Indian economy to overcome successfully such challenges.”

Highlighting the positive aspects of the economy, Mr. Mukherjee asserted that with strong basic fundamentals and high rate of domestic savings and investment, along with a reversal in the tight monetary policy, among others, taking the economy back to the path of higher growth, maintaining a moderate rate of inflation, narrowing the current account deficit and restricting the fiscal deficit to two per cent of GDP were much achievable.

The Finance Minister also argued that it was on account of the well-placed regulatory mechanism and effective functioning that banks were not adversely affected by the international financial crisis.

On the contrary, the role of banks was such that they helped in minimising the impact on the economy. In such a scenario, the role of DRTs “is all the more important in helping out the banks to deal with mounting NPAs/loss assets,” as DRTs could ensure effective and speedy recovery of public money.

Keeping this important aspect in view, as per the relevant legislation on recovery of dues, the endeavour of tribunals should be to decide cases in 180 days, but the DRTs had not been able to adhere to this time line. Mr. Mukherjee said the pendency of cases in tribunals was about 67,000 cases, involving an amount of Rs. 1.36 lakh crore as on March 31, 2012. “This is a matter of great concern,” he said.



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