Loans worth Rs 816.83 billion were written-off by public sector banks (PSBs) in 2016-17, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said today in the Rajya Sabha.
In a written reply, Jaitley said that writing-off of loans is done for tax benefit as well as capital optimisation and borrowers of such loans continue to be liable for repayment.
The amount written off (including through compromise) by PSBs was Rs 816.83 billion in the financial year 2016-17, including Rs 203.39 billion by the State Bank of India (as per RBI data on global operations), he said.
The amount written off by nationalised banks was Rs 287.81 billion during 2017-18 (up to September, 2017).
As per the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) guidelines and policy approved by Bank Boards, non-performing loans, including those in respect of which full provisioning has been made on completion of four years, are removed from the balance-sheet of the bank concerned by way of write-off.
Jaitley further said that recovery of dues takes place on ongoing basis under legal mechanisms, which include, the Secularisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, Debts Recovery Tribunals and Lok Adalats.
"Therefore, write-off does not benefit borrowers," the minister added.
In another reply, Minister of State for Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla said in the five-financial years since April 1, 2013, as many as 13,643 cases of frauds in banks involving an aggregate amount of Rs 527.17 billion was reported.
On a query regarding benami deals, Shukla said more than 1,000 properties have been attached provisionally under the Prohibition of Benami Properties Transactions Act till January 31, 2018.
"These include plots of land, flats, shops, jewellery, vehicles, deposits in bank account, fixed deposits. The value of properties under provisional attachment is over Rs 38 billion," he added.