The Lok Sabha on Monday approved an amendment bill to make easier recovery of bad loans by banks amid walkout by the BJP, Left and some other parties after the government rejected their demand for referring it to the Standing Committee.

The Enforcement of Security Interest and Recovery of Debts Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2011, which was approved by voice vote in the Lower House, seeks to convert any part of debt into shares of defaulting company by the Asset Reconstruction Company (ARC).

The Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha in December, 2011.

While the opposition demanded that the bill be referred to the Standing Committee for scrutiny, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said when the bill was introduced last year the Speaker decided against referring it to the Parliamentary committee.

Referring it to the committee now would delay the process further, he said, adding the then minister wanted it to be passed without delay as amendments were of technical nature.

“The bill was introduced in 2011 and should not be referred (to Standing Committee) now after 12 months...It would defeat the very purpose the bill. In the interest of banking sector, it is necessary to pass the bill in 2012,” he said, adding the move would quicken the process of loan recovery.

On the issue of rising non-performing assets (NPAs) of banks, Chidambaram said the banking sector is well regulated and the gross NPA, which is around 3.5 per cent of total loans, was not high and the situation would improve with economic recovery.

(This article was published on December 10, 2012)
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