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The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the Reserve Bank of India to submit a list of the biggest defaulters after taking suo motu cognisance of The Indian Express report on twenty-nine state-owned banks writing off a total of Rs 1.14 lakh crore of bad debts between financial years 2013 and 2015.
The court ordered RBI to share information about cases where loans amounting to Rs 500 crore and above have been written off by the banks.
The issue of bad debts is in public interest, said the Supreme Court while seeking to know how RBI and Government recapitalise the public banks. The CJI’s bench asked the Government what action are they going to take against big defaulters leading a “lavish lifestyle”.
In response to an RTI application filed by The Indian Express, the RBI had disclosed that while bad debts stood at Rs 15,551 crore for the financial year ending March 2012, they had shot up by over three times to Rs 52,542 crore by the end of March 2015. Even as the government has been trying to shore up public sector banks through equity capital and other measures, bad loans written off by them between 2004 and 2015 amount to more than Rs 2.11 lakh crore. More than half such loans (Rs 1,14,182 crore) have been waived off between 2013 and 2015.
Only two banks, State Bank of Saurashtra and State Bank of Indore, have shown zero bad debts in the past five years.