New Delhi: “Corruption today is not moral degeneration but is a systemic loot. It results in huge accumulation and inequity,” said Nilotpal Basu, CPI(M) leader, at a public meeting organized at the Press Club of India today.

Basu further said that the crisis one is witnessing in the banking sector is a part of the larger crisis the country is facing on multiple fronts. He was speaking at the public meeting titled ‘Crisis in the Banking Sector: Who Stole? Who Pays?,’ which was organized in the wake of recent PNB fraud, rising NPAs, and the crisis being faced by the Public Sector Banks in general.

Differentiating between the genuine default and willful default, M.K. Venu, senior journalist and co-founder of The Wire said, “Because of Nirav Modi case, the media is focusing on ‘willful defaulters,’ which are mostly mid-sized businesses. However, there are corporate write-offs are over-invoicing done by the big corporations, which owns 80% of NPAs and go scot-free.”

Speaking at the meeting, Mohan Guruswamy, Policy analysis and former advisor to the Finance Minister, observed, that India is becoming a nation of defaulters! “Why do defaulters get to buy new companies and new deals?” he asked. Citing examples of the closeness of defaulters with the people in power, he said, “By their overt and covert support to these defaulters, the governments sends a message to the banks not to act against these defaulters.”

Criticizing the people advocating privatization of the Public Sector Banks, Meera Nangia, Prof of Commerce, Delhi University, remarked, “We need to talk about Corporate Accountability and not just the accountability of Public Sector Banks.” We are not questioning the work ethics of corporates and the lending practices being followed by the banks. The clause of limited liability is allowing the owners to amass wealth, she added.

Speaking at the meeting, Anupam, Swaraj India said, “Government has been using recapitalization as a solution without institutional reform, similar to farm loan waivers without knowing the price of crops.”

Moumita Dutta, Joint Secretary, AIBOC, highlighted that RBI was also responsible for the scam. She asked, “What is the need of LoU by RBI when Buyer Credit already exists.” Emphasising that the Banks need to undergo several audits every year. She argued that the 11,000 crores cannot be given without the collusion of the Bank Board. She revealed that in the Bank Boards, the posts of Employee Director and Worker Director — which represent unions and people– are lying vacant for long. These directors, due to their union background and touch with the employees, help in better supervision.

The public meeting was jointly organised by Act Now for Harmony & Democracy (ANHAD), All India Bank Officer¹s Confederation (AIBOC), Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), Delhi Solidarity Group (DSG), National Alliance of People¹s Movements (NAPM), and New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI).


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