BJP waves away NPA charge
The BJP on Wednesday accused Rahul Gandhi of “misleading” and “sensationalising facts” and sought to ridicule his comments over a list of bank defaulters the Reserve Bank of India had released in response to an information query.
“Rahul Gandhi should take tuition from P. Chidambaram on the difference between ‘write-off’ and ‘waive-off’,” information and broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar said.
“The Narendra Modi government has not waived off any loan. ‘Write off’ is a normal accounting process. It doesn’t stop recovery or action against defaults.”
The ruling party had earlier fielded finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who had posted a series of tweets late on Tuesday night seeking to counter the Congress leader.
Rahul had on Tuesday cited the RBI list of top defaulters and accused the Modi government of helping those who had “looted banks” by writing off their loans since they were the “BJP’s friends”.
Sitharaman had sought to come up with a detailed rebuttal and said the wilful defaulters were beneficiaries of “phone banking” of the previous government. The Modi government, she added, was chasing them to recover the dues.
“Rahul Gandhi, MP (LS) and Randeep Singh Surjewala, spokesperson of Congress, have attempted to mislead people in a brazen manner,” Sitharaman said, accusing them of “sensationalising facts” by taking them out of context.
The minister claimed that most of the loans (Rs 145,226 crore) were written off between 2009-10 and 2013-14 when the UPA was in power and pointed out that writing off did not mean that a loan was being waived off.
According to accounting terms, a write-off is to remove loans only from the balance sheets of a bank, while waive-off means waiving the potential liability of a person towards the bank.
Sitharaman said provisions are made for non-performing assets (NPAs), according to a four-year provisioning cycle of the RBI. “Upon full provisioning being done, banks write-off the fully provided NPA but continue to pursue recovery against the borrower. No loan is waived off,” she tweeted.
The minister said borrowers who don't repay banks despite being capable or divert and siphon off funds are categorised as wilful defaulters and then went on to take a swipe at the Congress, saying such persons had benefited from the UPA’s “phone banking”.
'Neither while in power, nor while in the opposition has the Congress shown any commitment or inclination to stop corruption and cronyism,' she said.
On Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi and Vijay Mallya, who had all flown abroad, she gave details of the worth of their assets the government has attached and underlined that Modi's administration was pursuing their extradition.
Sitharaman also sought to counter Rahul's allegation that the government had not provided the list of defaulters he had sought in Parliament. She claimed that bank-wise details pertaining to the top 50 wilful defaulters had been provided as an annex to an answer to a Lok Sabha question.
The minister said the answer to the question (305) had been provided on March 16 this year.