The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Wilful defaults on the rise

Calcutta, Sept. 6: The number of wilful defaulters are gradually increasing. Latest figures available with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the finance ministry show that there has been a nearly 30 per cent increase in wilful defaults in case of public sector banks. The aggregate default amount has gone up to Rs 4,947.65 crore at the end of March 31, 2003, against Rs 3,886 crore a year ago.

The total number of accounts that has been placed under the ‘wilful default’ category has also shown a substantial increase of 40 per cent from 1,445 to 1,787.

The rise in intentional non-payment of dues has come despite the RBI advising banks to take penal action against such defaulters. The central bank has warned that wilful defaulters would be debarred from accessing the capital markets while the banking system would be alerted to ensure that fresh loans are not provided to defaulters for a period of five years.

The largest bank in the country — State Bank of India — leads the pack by taking a hit of Rs 1,465 crore from 473 wilful defaulters at the end of March 31, 2003. Among the nationalised banks, Canara Bank has taken the biggest blow of Rs 356.96 crore from 109 accounts.

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