FRDI Bill: ‘Govt committed to protecting interests of depositors in public sector banks’

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 09, 2018 Published on December 21, 2017

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley at Parliament House on Thursday   -  PTI

Lok Sabha passes second batch of Supplementary Demand for Grants

Faced with increasing political pressure from within and outside Parliament to withdraw the controversial FRDI Bill, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday asserted that the government was committed to protect the interests of depositors’ in public sector banks.

“I am making this statement for the third time. The government is committed to protecting the interests of depositors in public sector banks,” Jaitley said in his reply to the debate in the Lok Sabha on the second batch of Supplementary Demand for Grants for 2017-18.

The lower house later passed the second batch of Supplementary Demand for Grants involving additional spend of ₹66,113.34 crore, including a net cash outgo of ₹33,379.99 crore.

Jaitley said that a Joint Committee of Parliament was looking into the Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) Bill 2017 and that the government would like to have a higher level of protection for depositors than what is existing today.

“It (the level of protection) is minimal today. We have a open mind and will look into the recommendations of the Joint Committee when the report is before us”, he added.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has also written a letter to the Centre urging it to withdraw the FRDI Bill. Asked if the government plans to repeal the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act or move away the announced glide path for fiscal deficit reduction, Jaitley said that the government was considering the views of the NK Singh-headed panel report. “There are two kind of views coming from the report. We will look into it”, he said.

Several Members of Parliament expressed anguish over the additional spend of ₹66,113.64 crore adversely impacting the fiscal deficit situation and the Centre may not be able to meet its 3.2 per cent target for 2017-18.

Moily’s attack

Senior Congress Leader Veerappa Moily on Thursday slammed the Modi government for scuttling the Parliamentary Committee system and urged it to let the system work without politicising it.

Initiating the debate on the second batch of Supplementary Demand for Grants for 2017-18, Moily rued that the current dispensation had consciously been bypassing the Standing Committees to accomplish its legislative agenda.

In the last three-and-half years, only three Bills were referred to the Standing Committee (on Finance) while in the erstwhile UPA-II regime as many as 30 Bills were referred to this Standing Committee.

“We are a responsible Opposition. We are here to collaborate with the business of the House. Don’t silence the Opposition. Don't politicise the committee system and let the committee system work,” he said.

Asserting that the economy is in “bad shape”, Moily also said there is no hope that the fiscal deficit would be maintained within the targeted level of 3.2 per cent this fiscal.

Moily also came down on the government for the proposal to cover depositors’ monies in the ‘bail-in’ provision of the Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance Bill.

Published on December 21, 2017
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