The second half of the winter session of the parliament continued to witness the members asking government questions related to finance. Some of these questions were related to the NPAs in various sectors of the Scheduled Commercial banks and Cooperative Banks, rationalisation of the branches and ATMs, charges levied by the banks on various services, disinvestment in the PSUs, LIC’s profits, Inequality in India, Non-Banking Finance Companies, foreign debt, and research assistance provided to the finance ministry by government-funded and private organisations. These questions were asked in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha between Dec 19-January 8, 2018. The compilation of questions asked in the first half of the current session can be accessed here.

Closure of Overseas Branches of PSBs

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley disclosed that as per the recommendations made by Whole-Time Directors and senior management of Public Sector Banks (PSBs), 55 overseas branches of 11 PSBs will be closed in the FY 2018-19. These PSBs are Allahabad Bank, Andhra Bank, Bank of Baroda, Bank of India, Canara Bank, Corporation Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Punjab National Bank, State Bank of India, UCO Bank, and Union Bank of India. (AS 245)

NPAs

The Government claimed that its efforts had shown positive results in the reduction of NPAs of PSBs by Rs. 2,21,984 crore due to recoveries during the last three and a half financial years, as per RBI data on global operations. It further told the parliament that the gross NPAs of PSBs have started declining, after peaking in March 2018, registering a decline of Rs. 26,789 crore, from Rs. 8,95,601 crore in March 2018 to Rs 8,68,812 crore in September 2018. (AU 2972)

As a result of recognition of stressed assets as NPAs, gross NPAs of PSBs, as per RBI data on domestic operations, increased from Rs. 2,16,739 crore as on March 31, 2014, to Rs. 8,45,475 crore as on March 31, 2018. Currently, SBI, with Rs 2,02,179 crores has the highest Gross NPA. Bank-wise details of gross NPAs of PSBs and bank-wise details of total quantum of outstanding loans against wilful defaulters of PSBs are given here. (AU 3994)

NPA under Educational Loans

As per information provided by Indian Banks’ Association (IBA), Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) of Public Sector Banks (PSBs) increased from 7.29% as on March 31, 2016 to 8.97% as on March 31, 2018. (AU 3976) Stream-wise NPAs of PSBs as on March 31, 2018, is as under:

Stream NPA percentage
Medical Profession 6.06
Engineering 9.76
Nursing Courses 21.28
MBA 5.59
Other Profession 9.49

NPAs in Cooperative Banks

As reported by National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), as on 31 March 2018, out of 33 State Cooperative Banks (StCBs) 02 StCBs were in losses and out of 363 District Central Cooperative Banks (DCCBs), 49 DCCBs had incurred losses. The bank-wise position indicating yearly loss and administrative expenses incurred by the StCBs and DCCBs running into losses during the last three years are shared here. (AU 2942)

RBI not sharing data with SEBI

Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has informed that it has sought information from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on the list of certain corporate entities who have defaulted on bank credit and/or been classified as Non-Performing Assets (NPA). SEBI had sought the information to enable it to assess the impact on Investment Vehicles which could have invested in such entities. RBI had expressed its inability to share the list of such troubled accounts primarily due to the reasons of such defaults/ NPAs not being wilful defaults and the issue of customer confidentiality. (AU 4051)

The Growth of Public Sector Banks

Over the past three years, the rate of growth of credit and deposits of the private sector has been much higher than that of the public sector. (AU 2156)

Recovery of Loans

The government claimed that as per RBI data on global operations, recovery in NPAs of PSBs increased from Rs. 15,198 crore in first quarter of FY 2017-18 to Rs. 34,842 crore in first quarter of FY 2018-19, registering a year-on-year growth of 129%. Also, as per RBI data, recovery in NPAs of PSBs has increased from Rs. 40,903 crore in FY 2015-16 to Rs. 53,250 crore in FY 2016-17 and again to Rs. 67,107 crore in FY 2017-18, registering a year-on-year growth of 30% and 26% respectively in FY 2016-17 and FY 2017-18. Further, PSBs recovered Rs. 60,726 crore during the first half of the current FY, which is 90% of the recovery of PSBs during the full preceding FY. (AU 2107)

Bank Frauds

As per inputs received from RBI, the aggregate reported amount for frauds involving an amount of Rs. 1 lakh and above, as reported by scheduled commercial banks (SCBs) and select Financial Institutions in FY 2015-16, FY 2016-17 and FY 2017-18, is Rs. 18,698.82 crore, Rs. 23,933.85 crore and Rs. 41,167.71 crore respectively and the extent of loss due to frauds for the same period is Rs. 16,602.90 crore, Rs. 16,788.54 crore and Rs. 37,226.39 respectively. (AS 198) A table on the frauds reported by Scheduled Commercial Banks and Public Sector Banks in the last three years are mentioned here. (AU 2959) The steps taken by the government and RBI to enhance the fraud risk management framework of the banks and to ensure a proper check on banking frauds are listed here. (AS 177)

CBI has registered 676 bank frauds cases pertaining to nationalised banks including Punjab National Bank during the last 3 years viz. 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 (up to November 30, 2018). Out of these 676 cases, 91 cases pertaining to Punjab National Bank (PNB). (AU 2143)

Recapitalisation

In the recent past, Rs. 90,000 crore was allocated in the Union Budget and infused in various PSBs by the Government during the financial year (FY) 2017-18. In the budget estimates of FY 2018-19, Rs. 65,000 crore has been allocated for the recapitalisation of PSBs and an amount of Rs. 51,533 crore has been infused in PSBs till 31.12.2018. PSBs-wise details of capital infusion by Government in PSBs in FY 2017-18 and up to December 31, 2018 in FY 2018-19 shows that the Bank of India received the maximum capital infusion. India Infrastructure Financial Company Limited (IIFCL) is the only Central Public Sector Enterprise under the administrative control of the Department of Financial Services. An amount of Rs. 100 crore each in FY 2017-18 and FY 2018-19 was allocated in the Union Budget and infused in IIFCL by the Government. (AS 342)

Outstanding Advances to Infrastructure Sector

The bank-wise data on outstanding advances to infrastructure sector — transport; energy; water and sanitation; communication; social and commercial infrastructure; and others — provided by the public and private sector banks as of the end of March – 2015, March – 2016, March – 2017, March – 2018 and Sep – 2018 can be accessed here. (AS 170) The government also denied of having any proposal under consideration for setting up an infrastructure bank to cater exclusively to the infrastructure sector.

Income from Interest

Details of interest income earned by PSBs net of interest expenses (i.e., net interest income) during the last four financial years. (AU 4030)

Financial Year Net Interest Income (in Rs Crore)
2014-15 1,96,784.70
2015-16 1,98,687.60
2016-17 2,00,485.26
2017-18 2,05,209.45

Bank Charges

Minimum Balance

RBI’s master circular dated July 1, 2015 on ‘Customer Service in Banks’, banks are allowed to decide the policy on levy of charges on non-maintenance of minimum balances with the approval of their Boards. The government shared that the ever since the policy was implemented in 2015, till September 2018, the PSBs have collected Rs 6, 246.44 crores. The Annexure also revealed that the only PSB which does not charge any penalty for non-maintenance of minimum balance in Saving Bank accounts is Punjab and Sind Bank. (AU 2150)

ATM Withdrawals

As per RBI’s direction on ‘Usage of ATMs – Rationalisation of the number of free transactions’, dated August 14, 2014, a minimum of three free transactions at any other bank’s ATMs at six metro location, viz. Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Hyderabad and a minimum of five free ATM transactions at a bank’s own ATM at any other location is permitted during a month. Beyond this minimum number of free ATM transactions, banks have their Board-approved policy on charges from customers on ATM transactions, subject to a cap on customers’ charges of Rs.20 per transaction. The money collected by various banks in the last four years is mentioned here. (AU 1924)

Life Insurance Corporation of India

As per Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), it has realised a profit of Rs. 20,269.47 crore and Rs. 26,147.52 crore in the financial years 2016-17 and 2017-18 respectively. This is an increase of 29 per cent over the previous financial year (2016-17). (AU 4136)

Answering another question, the government shared that year-wise solvency ratios of LIC’s total business, for the financial years 2013-14 to 2017-18 are 1.55, 1.55, 1.55, 1.59 and 1.59 respectively and that as per LIC’s inputs, the rising trend in LIC’s gross NPAs over the last three financial years has been reversed in the current financial year, with gross NPA in the current financial year declining by Rs. 1,144.63 crore till October 31, 2018 and further, the net NPA of LIC is reducing sharply from Rs. 7,040.88 crore as on March 31, 2018 to Rs. 1,580.88 crore as on October 31, 2018. (AU 2880)

Inequality in India

Based on the Quinquennial Household Consumer Expenditure Surveys of the NSSO conducted in 2004-05 (61st round) and 2011-12 (68th round), the Gini coefficient using Mixed Reference Period (measuring the inequality between different expenditure classes of the population) in rural areas has remained almost the same in 2004-05 and 2011-12 at 0.27 and 0.28 respectively. In the urban areas, the Gini coefficient has increased marginally from 0.35 in 2004-05 to 0.37 in 2011-12. This indicates almost no deterioration of inequality status in India. (AS 207)

Rural Banking

As per RBI data, the number of branches opened by commercial banks during the last three years is provided below:

2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19

(till June 30, 2018)

9,040 5,308 3,952 1,682

The RBI’s extant guidelines on “ Rationalising the Branch Authorisation Policy”, dated May 18, 2017, general permission has been granted   to domestic Scheduled Commercial Banks (SCBs) (excluding Regional Rural Banks), to open banking outlets at any place in the country without seeking prior approval of RBI in each case , subject to at least 25 percent of the total number of banking outlets opened during a financial year being in unbanked rural centres (Tier 5 & 6) with population less than 10,000. For this purpose, ‘Banking Outlets’ opened in any Tier 3 to Tier 6 centres (centres with population less than 50,000) of North Eastern States and Sikkim as well as in any Tier 3 to 6 centre of Left-wing Extremism (LWE) affected districts as notified by the Government of India from time to time, are also considered as equivalent to opening a ‘Banking Outlet’, in unbanked rural centres. (AU 2118)

Answering another question, the government shared that between March 31, 2016 and June 30, 2018, 2,629 new branches of Commercial Banks were opened in rural areas, with a population less than 10,000. (AS 2117)

Clean Energy Cess

Answering a question, the government revealed that so far only 40.55 per cent of the total Clean Energy Cess collected has been transferred to the National Clean Energy Fund. This transfer depends on the absorptive capacity of the Ministry in a year, and the balances available in the National Clean Energy Fund kept in the Public Account. (AU 2106)

Clean Energy Cess collected Amount transferred to NCEF
2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 (RE) 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 (RE)
5393 12676 26117 12100 4700 100 6467 5981
Amount transferred as per cent of collection 87.2 0.79 24.8 49.4

59 minutes loan scheme to MSME sector’

The government recently launched web portal www.psbloansin59minutes.comto facilitate in principle approval for loans to Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) up to Rs. 1 crore within 59 minutes from Public Sector Banks (PSBs). Key features of the portal, inter-alia, include enabling borrowers to connect with multiple banks without visiting the branch, financial technology (FinTech) based architecture with high level of information security, analysis of data from distributed data points, loan products in line with scoring models and assessment methods within approved credit policies, prima-facie eligibility check for credit guarantee from CGTMSE (Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises) etc. Till December 25, 2018, a total number of 40,669 loans have been sanctioned through this mode amounting to Rs.14,088.32 crore. (AU 2116)

Disinvestment in Oil PSUs

The government has approved the sale of five per cent shares of ONGC, three per cent shares of Indian Oil Corporation, and 10 per cent Oil India Limited. The Government of India has also expressed its willingness to participate in the offer for buyback of shares. (AU 2149)

IFIs investments in India

Answering to a question, the government shared the details of ongoing projects that are being financed by World Bank, Asian Development Bank, Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank and New Development Bank and other foreign financial institutes. (AU 4108)

The details of external loan liability from international institutes like World Bank, International Monetary Fund, BRICS bank and ASEAN bank during the period 2014-18 is available here. (AU 3978)

Foreign Debt

The Government repays the principal component of its foreign debt according to the terms and conditions agreed with lending/donor agencies. In the current financial year, a foreign debt amounting to Rs. 22,631.0 crore ( rounded off to zero decimal places) has been repaid up to January 2, 2019. As on November 30, 2018, debt outstanding (rounded off to zero decimal places) to the World Bank and Asian Development Bank is Rs. 2,30,123 crore and Asian Development Bank: Rs. 87,757 crore respectively. (AU 4087)

Research Assistance to Finance Ministry

Ministry of Finance has been receiving research assistance from National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, National Institute of Financial Management, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, The Energy and Resources Institute and Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations. The fee paid to these Institutes is Rs. 3,16,65,010, Rs. 2,26,13,274, Rs 1,90,83,507 Rs. 12,00,000 and Rs. 19,36,641 respectively during 2017-18. No fee was paid to Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations. (AU 4067)

Non-Banking Finance Companies

RBI has further informed that the number of NBFCs registered with it has come down from 11,400 as on March 31, 2018 to 10,102 as on September 30, 2018, due to the cancellation of the Certificate of Registration (CoR) of companies which did not comply with those mandatory RBI requirements. (AU 2045)

Exposure of Mutual Fund to NBFC

Non-Banking Finance Companies (NBFC) issues only Commercial Papers (CP) and Corporate Debt/ Debentures. NBFCs do not issue Certificate of Deposit. The total exposure of Mutual funds (MFs) to these debt papers of NBFCs has increased from Rs. 98,739 crore as on August 31, 2014 to Rs. 2,48,599 crore as on August 31, 2018 i.e an increase of 2.52 times. (AU 1884)

Human Resources in SBI

State Bank of India (SBI) has apprised that after the merger of its associate banks and Bhartiya Mahila Bank on April 1, 2017, according to the rankings of top global banks published by the international financial affairs publication “The Banker” in its July 2018 edition, SBI ranked 53 in terms of assets in 2018. 6,950 branches have merged with SBI post amalgamation of banks. The total number of branches, employees and officers of SBI as on March 31, 2017 were 17,170, 1,28,526 and 81,041 respectively, and as on March 31, 2018 were 22,414, 1,56,964 and 1,07,077 respectively. (AU 2011)

ATMs of Foreign Banks

As per RBI data, between March 2016 and September 2018, there is a reduction of about 11.61% in ATMs deployed by foreign banks. RBI has apprised that the reason for this reduction in ATMs deployed by the foreign banks is due to the closure of ATM operations by FirstRand Bank, banking operations by Royal Bank of Scotland. (AU 2032)

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In a historic 7-1 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in Jam v. IFC that international organizations like the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group do not enjoy absolute immunity.

The Court’s decision marks a defining moment for the IFC – the arm of the World Bank Group that lends to the private sector. For years, the IFC has operated as if it were “above the law,” at times pursuing reckless lending projects that inflicted serious human rights abuses on local communities, and then leaving the communities to fend for themselves.

This will be the first time the US Supreme Court has addressed the scope of international organisations’ immunity.

Visit here to know all about the case.