Arun Jaitley, P Chidambaram spar over NPAs in Rajya Sabha

New Delhi: Former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram questioned the National Democratic Alliance (NDA)-led Central Government on the issue of Non-Performing Assets (NPA) in the Rajya Sabha (RS) on Tuesday, asking for data to prove that loans sanctioned during the United Progessive Alliance (UPA) regime had become NPAs.

“I am asking a very specific question. How many loans given to banks after April 1, 2014 have become NPAs today?” Chidambaram said in the Upper House.

“Does the minister have data now? Will he furnish it to the house?” Chidambaram further questioned Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

Jaitley, on the other hand, stressed on the fact that majority of the NPAs had risen out of loans given during Manmohan Singh’s tenure as the prime minister.

“The question doesn’t relate to loans given with regard to particular dates. But it is absolutely clear that the bulk of these NPAs have risen out of loans which were given prior to Arpil 1, 2014,” he said.

Further, Shiromani Akali Dal party leader Naresh Gujral also questioned the union finance minister, asking for a forensic audit of at least ten NPAs of each bank.

“Ten to twelve houses have been responsible for 60-70 per cent of the NPAs. It amounts to concentration of risk in just a few hands which is very abnormal. Why don’t you order a forensic audit of at least ten NPAs of each bank?” Gujral said.

Jaitley assured the house that an action was taken against defaulters from time to time by banks, regulators, and investigative agencies.

Moreover, it will be difficult to conduct a fishing inquiry into every transaction to find out what went wrong, the finance minister asserted.

Earlier in October, the Centre had announced an unprecedented PSU banks recapitalisation programme of Rs 2.11 lakh crore to improve the lending capacity of banks.

Of Rs 2.11 lakh crore, Rs 1.35 lakh crore had to be raised from recap bonds, and rest from markets and budgetary support.