Saddled with mounting bad loans, as many as 16 public sector banks, including PNB, BoB and Canara Bank, skipped paying dividend in 2015-16, leading to three-fold decline in government receipts to Rs 1,444.6 crore. Only six state-owned banks including SBI declared dividend, though at a lower rate, for the fiscal ended March 2016.
Under the existing guidelines, profit making banks have to pay a minimum dividend of 20 per cent of their equity or 20 per cent of their post tax profit, whichever is higher.
The government, which is the majority shareholder in all the public sector banks, witnessed 67 per cent decline in dividend receipt from PSU banks at Rs 1,444.6 crore as against Rs 4,336.22 crore in the previous fiscal.
According to Finance Ministry data, the highest dividend was paid by SBI to government at Rs 1,214.6 crore during 2015-16, 22 per cent lower than the previous fiscal.
As regards Union Bank of India, the dividend payout was one-third of the previous fiscal at Rs 85 crore. For Oriental Bank of Commerce, it was one-fifth compared to the previous financial year at Rs 12.4 crore despite increase in government holding due to capital infusion.
Balance sheet of most of the banks were under stress due to clean-up exercise. Due to heavy provisioning for bad loans, many banks posted losses during the last quarter of the previous fiscal.
Gross NPAs of the PSBs had surged from 5.43 per cent (Rs 2.67 lakh crore) in 2014-15 to 9.32 per cent (Rs 4.76 lakh crore) in 2015-16 of the total advances.
Banks have been given time till March 2017 to clean up their balance sheet.