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Union Budget is no more an anxiety as many decisions like petroleum product prices, railway fare, tax waiver to corporation, GST are now out of the budget.

However some sectors require attention. Most important is the banking sector which is in shambles as there is no real effort to strengthen the banks and recover NFA.

So what do we expect from the Finance Minister who is not seen even in important meetings on the budget which the Prime Minister himself attends. Probably it doesn’t matter for her as the Ministry is controlled by PMO just like the other ministries are controlled.

SBI chairman has stated that to reach 5 trillion dollar economy, bank loans should triple from the present level. If that has to happen, bank branches and staff also have to triple. Will the Budget-2020 also announce this?

In spite of the recommendation of the parliament standing committee on finance, top 100 defaulters of each bank are not disclosed. No action is taken against the owners and board members. Which includes RBI representatives, Finance Ministry representatives and Managing Directors of the banks. Will this change? Will FM announce measures as was done in the 2015-16 Budget?

Increased target for Kisan Credit Card in every budget has become a force. The budget is increased by around 10% every year and banks renew the KCCs along with the interest due. So hardly any fresh loans are disbursed. With increase in the agricultural credit, especially small credit by 2-3 times, the Rural areas will not grow and new employment will not be guaranteed.

Banks require more capital as NPA is still not reducing. Will the Finance Minister announce further sanctions of capital or will it say that we don’t have funds and privatization is the only solution.

The bank employees have announced series of strike; demanding settlement of wage, reunion for which talks are going on for two and a half years. If this is not settled bankers will not increase the credit and Banking Sector will further deteriorate. So the question remains that can we expect any course correction from the Finance Minister or Prime Minister?

 

Thomas Franco is former General Secretary of All India Bank Officers’ Confederation.

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