Privatisation of public sector banks will have to wait as the government told the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday that a Bill not listed for current session. It also said that banks have written off loans worth about ₹10-lakh crore in the last five financial years.

In her Budget speech for fiscal year 2021-22, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had proposed to take up the privatisation of two PSBs. She had also legislative amendments to be moved. However, the Bill is yet to be moved. On Tuesday, Minister of State for Finance Bhagwat K Karad said in a written reply: “As per list of business for monsoon session no such bill has been listed for introduction, consideration and passing.”

Write off

In response to another question, Karad said that during 2021-22, the write-off amount came down to ₹1,57,096 crore compared to ₹2,02,781 crore in the previous year. In 2019-20, the write-off was worth ₹2,34,170 crore, down from ₹2,36,265 crore, the highest in five years recorded in 2018-19. During 2017-18, the write-off by banks stood at ₹1,61,328 crore, he said.

In all, he said, bank loans to the tune of ₹9,91,640 crore have been written off in the last five years – 2017-18 to 2021-22.

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He also said that “scheduled commercial banks (SCBs) and all Indian financial institutions report certain credit information of all borrowers having aggregate credit exposure of ₹5 crore and above to RBI under its Central Repository of Information on Large Credits (CRILC) database.” As per RBI, the CRILC data in respect of wilful defaulters is maintained from 2018-19 onwards, he said, adding total number of wilful defaulters in the last four years stood at 10,306.

The highest number of 2,840 wilful defaulters reported during 2020-21 was followed by 2,700 the next year. The number of wilful defaulters stood at 2,207 at the end of March 2019 that rose to 2,469 in 2019-20.

Top 25 defaulters

Sharing details of top 25 wilful defaulters at the end of March 2022, Karad said, Gitanjali Gems Ltd tops the list followed by Era Infra Engineering, Concast Steel and Power, REI Agro Ltd and ABG Shipyard Ltd. Absconding diamantaire Mehul Choksi’s company Gitanjali Gems owes banks a whopping ₹7,110 crore while Era Infra Engineering owes ₹5,879 crore and Concast Steel and Power Ltd ₹4,107 crore.

Besides, REI Agro Ltd and ABG Shipyard have defrauded banks of ₹3,984 crore and ₹3,708 crore, respectively. Other wilful defaulters like Frost International Ltd owes ₹3,108 crore, Winsome Diamonds and Jewellery ₹2,671 crore, Rotomac Global Private Limited ₹2,481 crore, Coastal Projects Ltd ₹2,311 crore and Kudos Chemie ₹2,082 crore