Was there a bigger scam than infamous 2G, Coal and Common Wealth Games frauds during the Congress-led UPA? Yes there was one, says Prime Minister Narendra Modi. According to the PM, the massive rise of Non Performing Assets (NPAs) of banks was the biggest scam that took place in the erstwhile UPA government led by ex-PM Manmohan Singh. Speaking at FICCI AGM on Wednesday, the prime minister said lending loans to NPAs was a kind of “robbery” which took place under UPA rule. “This was the biggest scam of the UPA government. Even bigger than Commonwealth, 2G, coal, bigger scandal than all these,” Modi said. PM Modi also questioned the role of industry bodies like FICCI during the same time period. Modi termed NPAs as the biggest liability the previous government handed over to his administration.
As per reports, Gross NPAs to advances in PSBs rose from 5.43% (Rs 2,78,466 crore) in March 2015 to 13.69% (Rs 7,33,137 crore) as of June 2017. Policy paralysis in the last leg of the previous government also stalled many projects, leading to a twin-balance-sheet problem (high bank NPAs and stressed corporates). However, it is debatable whether the said discrepancy was bigger than 2G and Coal scam. While the 2G spectrum allegedly amounted to Rs 1.76 Lakh crore, the Coal scam losses were as big as 1.85 Lakh crore
Modi said the Union Government is working to strengthen the banking system. The prime minister claimed that rumours are now being spread about the Financial Regulation and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) Bill. PM also said that Government is working to protect the interests of the account holders, but rumours being spread are the exact opposite. He said that organizations such as FICCI have a responsibility to generate awareness about such issues. FICCI also has a role to play in making GST more effective, he added.
Here is what PM Narendra Modi about the ‘NPA scam’ said:
“Friends, FICCI calls itself – industry’s voice for policy change. You take industry’s voice to the government. Your surveys keep coming, seminars keep going. I do not know whether FICCI has done any survey on the way the previous government policies have plagued the banking sector? Nowadays, there is chaos going on about the non-performing asset, it is the biggest liability given to this government by economists who served the previous government. I am also interested in knowing the role of institutions like FICCI when some of the people sitting in government were pressurizing banks to lend loans to some industrialists. The people in the previous government, banks, industry, the market-related institutions knew that this was going wrong. This was the biggest scam of the UPA Government. Even bigger than Commonwealth, 2G, coal, bigger scandal than all these. It was a kind of robbery of the public’s earning by the people sitting in the government through industrialists. Is it even once pointed out in a survey, in a study. The people who were watching everything by keeping silent, were they tried to wake them up by an institution?”