Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said the rate of rise in banks' non-performing assets has slowed down in the March quarter and the steel sector has started showing signs of improvement.
"The core problem of NPAs is with very large corporates, though few in numbers, which are predominantly in the steel, power, infrastructure and textile sectors," Jaitley said at the Parliamentary Consultative Committee meeting.
"To deal with the NPAs of the banks is a challenging task even though the NPAs have shown a declining trend in the last quarter of the current financial year," Jaitley further added.
Earlier in the month, the chairman of a key Parliamentary panel had favoured naming and shaming corporate houses which default on repayment of bank loans. Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chief K V Thomas hoped "naming and shaming" such corporate houses may help financial institutions get back their money.
"In case, of farmers or small traders, banks act strong and they go to their houses to recover money. They even get published their name and photograph in newspapers. But when it comes to corporate houses, they don't reveal the names. Banks need to answer as to what was the guarantee taken by them before giving such big amounts as loan to corporate houses and what action is being taken by them," Thomas had said.
The gross NPAs of public sector banks had risen from Rs 5.02 lakh crore at the end of March 2016 to Rs 6.08 lakh crore in December 2016. And out of the Rs 6.8 lakh crore, a whopping 70 per cent are those of big corporate houses, Thomas had said.
However, Arun Jaitley today did not make any statement on 'naming and shaming'. He said some corporates expanded their capacity during the boom period from 2003-2008, but could not face the onslaught of global financial crisis and consequent slow down thereafter.
"The government is taking sectoral specific measures to deal with the problem of NPAs specifically in the resolution of large debts... Steel Sector is on its path of recovery while many decisions have been taken in the infrastructure, power and textile Sectors to resolve their problems," Jaitley said.
As of September 30, 2016, the NPAs declared by various scheduled commercial banks stood at a stupendous Rs 6,65,864 crore.
According to the Finance Ministry data, the NPAs of the country's largest lender State Bank of India is Rs 97,356 crore, followed by Rs 54,640 crore of Punjab National Bank and Rs 44,040 crore of Bank of India.
Bank of Baroda has NPAs of Rs 35,467 crore, Canara Bank Rs 31,466 crore, Indian Overseas Bank Rs 31,073 crore, Union Bank of India Rs 27,891 crore, IDBI Bank Limited Rs 25,973 crore, Central Bank of India Rs 25,718 crore, Allahabad Bank Rs 18,852 crore and Oriental Bank of Commerce Rs 18,383 crore.
(With inputs from PTI)