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Budget 2019: FM Piyush Goyal may review performance of PSU banks ahead of February 1

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Updated: January 25, 2019 7:15:05 AM

Interim finance minister Piyush Goyal may review on Monday the performance of public-sector banks (PSBs) in resolving the bad loan mess, undertaking governance reforms and lending to key sectors such as agriculture and MSMEs.

budget 2019, budget, union budget, narendra modi, narendra modi government, pm modi, union budget 2019, economy, arun jaitley, bjp governmentInterim finance minister Piyush Goyal

Interim finance minister Piyush Goyal may review on Monday the performance of public-sector banks (PSBs) in resolving the bad loan mess, undertaking governance reforms and lending to key sectors such as agriculture and MSMEs.

The scheduled meeting comes just ahead of the February 1 Budget, which is likely to be a farmer-friendly one in the build-up to the polls, with a more attractive crop insurance scheme, enhanced agri credit target and larger interest subvention on farm loans. Sops for MSMEs are widely expected too.

Top bankers will present inputs on profitability, reduction in bad loan ratio and the status of recoveries from stressed assets that are in the process of getting resolved under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, sources said. Transparency in loan sanction and disbursement under ‘Clean Banking’ will also feature in the discussions.

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The department of financial services is expected to release a report on reforms undertaken by PSBs under EASE (Enhanced Access and Service Excellence), focusing on six themes around customer responsiveness, responsible banking and credit offtake, said another source.

The finance ministry believes the worst is over for state-run banks and the recent improvement in their performance will be further bolstered by a series of infusions planned over the next few months.

Gross NPA ratio in the banking system is expected to ease for the first time in almost a decade to 10.3% by the end of 2018-19 under the baseline scenario, from as much as 11.2% a year before, according to the latest RBI projection. This is mainly due to easing concerns about the NPAs of state-run banks, which account for an overwhelmingly large share of these.

NPAs of PSBs dropped `23,860 crore in the first half of the current fiscal from a peak of `9.62 lakh crore in March 2018, in a sign that the worst was behind, financial services secretary Rajiv Kumar had said recently.

The government infused a total of `51,533 crore into a clutch of PSBs as of December-end. It will soon decide on the beneficiaries of the rest of the proposed infusion of `1.06-lakh crore in FY19. Last fiscal, the government had infused `88,139 crore into state-run banks. The government would infuse `41,000 crore more
into PSBs in the current fiscal over and above the budgeted `65,000 crore.

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