Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said all the money taken away from the banks will be taken back as the government is actively pursuing the cases of loan defaulters and will not let them go scot-free, particularly those who have fled the country.
She said the central government is working in close coordination with the J&K administration to ensure that not only the Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) but every centrally sponsored scheme benefits every citizen of the Union territory.
The finance minister was addressing a function after launching new schemes and handing over orders to various beneficiaries under the financial inclusion and credit outreach programme here.
Sitharaman said that while the government is generously putting all its resources to make J&K work well in a transparent way, ”any wrongdoing that has happened in the banks, any loans that have been taken away and not repaid till now, I am sure our system will work in such a way that the wrongdoers and the money…will be brought back.” The finance minister said that is what has been happening in the entire country.
”The non-performing assets (NPAs) of the banks had been a cause for worry when Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014. In order to bring down the NPAs, a specific ‘4Rs’ strategy of recognition, resolution, recapitalisation and reforms showed immediate results,” she said.
Sitharaman reached Jammu on the second leg of her two-day tour from Kashmir and also inspected various stalls put up by various beneficiaries of government schemes.
She said the government pursued the defaulters who took away the loans and let it become the NPA and did not pay back the taxpayers’ money that is what is in the banks, whether they are in this country or have gone away from India.
The government ensured that their properties are attached, and through a legal process, sold or auctioned out and that money have been paid back to the banks, she added.
”This shall continue to happen, irrespective of where the NPAs holders are and irrespective of where their accounts were. Every NPA shall be pursued actively and that shall apply to J&K as well,” she said adding ”we shall get back all the money taken away from the banks”.
Speaking to reporters here, Sitharaman said, ”We shall not let go any defaulters (scot-free), particularly those, who have fled the country.” Sitharaman said, ”We will get the assets back through the courts to give it back to the banks”.
She was replying to a question whether the central government has seized the assets and properties of two big loan defaulters liquor baron Vijay Mallya and diamantaire Nirav Modi to get money back to the banks and what has government done to seek their extradition. ”First of all, every time, Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya (are raked up) – why two names only? There are many more names, you can add, if you want,” She said. Sitharaman pointed towards NPA during the previous UPA rule and said that in every one of these cases, I say with a certain sense of responsibility that NPA used to happen earlier. She said money is returning back to respective banks through due process in the courts. ”It is an ongoing process,” she reiterated.
The Union finance minister lauded J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, who was also present on the occasion, for the development of the Union Territory in a ”speedy, efficient and transparent” manner.
She assured the people of Jammu and Kashmir that the Centre will work in close coordination with the local administration to ensure that not only the PMDP is implemented but every scheme that is launched is also brought to the Union Territory and benefits every beneficiary who deserved to be served.
”After 2019 (reorganisation of J&K., we have seen the UT of J&K go through a rapid progression. The projects that have been waiting for a long time are getting implemented and sections of the society that have never had the opportunity of receiving any assistance from the government are getting it,” the finance minister said.
She said the schemes for the poorer sections that benefited the people across the country from a collective infusion of credit through farmer producer organisations or self-help groups are now seeing the light of the day in J&K.
Seeking the cooperation of the people in facilitating outsiders to set up their units in Jammu and Kashmir, she said a lot of people want to come and set up industry here and take benefit from the industrial package of the government.
In reply to a separate question about the threat of dharna by the opposition in support of CAA after the success of farmers agitation, she said the government takes calls that are mature and a call that always keeps the nation on top priority.
”Every decision of this government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi keeps the nation on the top,” she said.
Sitharaman inaugurated works pertaining to health, education, urban infrastructure, and disaster management and laid the foundation stones of several projects in Jammu and Srinagar capital cities of the Union Territory.