Par panel discusses bad loan issue with RBI Governor, top PSU bankers

A Parliamentary panel on Tuesday met RBI Governor Urjit Patel, top public sector bankers and government officials to discuss about mounting bad loans and ways to resolve the problem.

Several bankers apprised the Committee on Subordinate Legislation of Rajya Sabha about different aspects of non-performing assets and the efforts being made to tackle the menace, sources said.

According to the sources, the bankers told the panel that the 'one-day' default provision for NPA classification as per the latest RBI circular was too harsh and that it should be made more practical.

The circular was issued on February 12 amid rising concerns over bad loans in the banking system.

The bankers also informed the panel, headed by senior Congress leader T Subbarami Reddy, that the 180-day resolution plan for NPAs under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) is "too less", sources said.

Top officials of about 16 public sector banks attended the meeting, which lasted for over three hours.

Many bank officials were of the view that the emphasis should be on restructuring the stressed assets and that referring cases for resolution under the IBC should be the last option, sources said.

Before meeting the bank officials, the panel met Patel, RBI Deputy Governor N S Vishwanathan, Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Kumar and Corporate Affairs Secretary Injeti Srinivas to understand the nature of the problems affecting the banking sector.

After the meeting, Reddy said that a view among several bankers was that moving the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) should be the "last resort".

Cases can be taken up for resolution under the IBC only after approval from the NCLT.

Reddy also said that the RBI has promised to look into the suggestions made during the meeting.

When asked whether the recent scam at the Punjab National Bank too came up for discussion, Reddy replied in the negative.

Top officials of Punjab National Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Canara Bank, Union Bank of India, United Bank of India, Allahabad Bank, and IDBI Bank were among those who attended the meeting.

Gross NPAs of state-owned banks had crossed Rs 7.77 trillion at the end of December 2017, according to official data.