Number of wilful defaulters rises to 2,494: Nirmala Sitharaman

FM to meet heads of banks; to review performance, governance reforms in RRBs (File Photo)

New Delhi: The number of wilful defaulters has increased from 2,208 to 2,494 at the end of March 31, 2021, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman informed Parliament on Tuesday. As per RBI data on global operations, during the last three financial years, public sector banks (PSBs) have effected recovery of Rs 3,12,987 crore in non-performing assets (NPAs) and written-off loans, she said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha. "RBI has further apprised that the total number of unique wilful defaulters reported by PSBs was 2,017 as on March 31, 2019, 2,208 as on March 31, 2020, and 2,494 as on March 31, 2021," she said.

The FM also said that the RBI has apprised that as per data reported by banks to the Central Repository of Information on Large Credits (CRILC), the total funded amount outstanding of borrowers whose sector code is private and whose loans are classified as NPAs in the PSBs as on March 31, 2019, March 31, 2020, and March 31, 2021, is Rs 5,73,202 crore, Rs 4,92,632 crore, and Rs 4,02,015 crore respectively.

Banks are required to take steps to initiate the legal process, wherever warranted, against the borrowers or guarantors for recovery dues, FM said. They may also initiate criminal proceedings against wilful defaulters, wherever necessary, she added. In reply to another question, the Finance Minister said public sector banks have done a write-off of Rs 1,31,894 crore during 2020-21 as compared to Rs 1,75,876 crore in the previous year.

As a result of the government's strategy of recognition, resolution, recapitalisation, and reforms have led to a decline in gross NPAs as a percentage of total advances to 9.11 percent as on March 31, 2021, from 11.97 percent in March 31, 2015.

(PSU Watch– India's Business News centre that places the spotlight on PSUs, Bureaucracy, Defence and Public Policy is now on Google News. Click here to follow. Also, join PSU Watch Channel in your Telegram. You may also follow us on Twitter here and stay updated.)