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Government package soon for stressed state-run banks: Sinha

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NEW DELHI/INDIA, 15NOV10 - Arun Jaitley, Leader of the Opposition, Rajya Sabha, Parliament of India, India, during the Fostering Public Leadership at the World Economic Forum's India Economic Summit 2010 held in New Delhi, 14-16 November 2010. Copyright (cc-by-sa) © World Economic Forum (www.weforum.org/Photo Matthew Jordaan matthew.jordaan@inl.co.za)

New Delhi: The government is working on a comprehensive package to help stressed state-run banks and improve the flow of credit for industry, Minister of state for Finance Jayant Sinha said on Wednesday.

“NPAs (non performing assets, or distressed loans) are simply a symptom of the underlying issues that need to be resolved,” Sinha said at an event here organised by the Indian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association.

“We are preparing a comprehensive package which we will bring out shortly,” he added.

n10 jayant sinha
Minister of state for Finance Jayant Sinha

The minister said the government was trying to improve corporate governance and strengthen management at state-run banks, while also overhauling annual targets for public sector lenders to increase the focus on efficiency.

Sinha said he would meet banks over the next two days in Bangalore to fine-tune their capital-raising plans.

“We are trying to understand exactly what is their capital requirement going to be in the next one to three years. We are there to support and provide them the capital,” he said.

According to the Reserve Bank of India, gross NPAs as a ratio of total loans could rise to 4.8 percent by September from 4.6 percent in March.

The government has agreed to pump in about $3 billion into the banks during the current fiscal towards their capitalization.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley last month said his ministry is currently preparing a list of projects stalled due to lack of finance to set in motion the process of their revival and thus bring down the NPAs of banks.

“Many stalled projects have started. The secretary, department of financial services, in consultation with others, will prepare a list of projects stalled because of finance,” Jaitley had told reporters here after meeting with the heads of public and private sector banks.

NEW DELHI/INDIA, 15NOV10 - Arun Jaitley, Leader of the Opposition, Rajya Sabha, Parliament of India, India, during the Fostering Public Leadership at the World Economic Forum's India Economic Summit 2010 held in New Delhi, 14-16 November 2010.  Copyright (cc-by-sa) © World Economic Forum (www.weforum.org/Photo Matthew Jordaan matthew.jordaan@inl.co.za)

“We will deal with these stalled projects directly. We will call representatives of state governments, of the projects and the departments concerned over the next few weeks,” he said.

Gross non-performing assets, or distressed loans, of state-run banks have gone up to Rs.260,531 crore as in December 2014. In the fourth quarter of January to March 2015, NPAs had come down from 5.64 to 5.2 percent.

As per the finance ministry’s Economic Survey published before February’s union budget, stalled projects as in December-end amounted to Rs.880,000 crore.

(IANS)

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Income Tax Officers Quit Work For Mental Peace

Tax officer quit service as they prioritise mental peace over work

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Income tax officers
Nearly two dozen gazetted income tax officers have called it quits in this financial year alone. Pixabay

It seems that some people prioritise mental peace over other things in life.

Under unrelenting workload and high tax collection targets, nearly two dozen gazetted income tax officers have called it quits in this financial year alone.

“The situation in our department is really bad. There is a lot of work pressure. During this financial year, about 22-23 officers have left,” Income Tax Gazetted Officers Association (ITGOA) Vice President Bhaskar Bhattacharya told IANS.

Bhattacharya added that pressure has been mounting in the last few years.

The ITGOA is an association of over more than 9,500 promotee gazetted officers from across the country.

The lower tax collection has rung alarm bells among policy makers resulting in pressure on field officers to collect more revenues. The income tax department has so far managed to collect Rs 5 lakh crore in direct taxes, less than half of the total budget target of Rs 13.35 lakh crore for FY20.

tax officers
Tax officers prioritise mental peace over burden of work. Pixabay

With economic growth being in the slow lane, achieving the yearly tax collection target is a big task for the tax department.

Asked if the pressure has indeed been immense, an office-bearer of the Indian Revenue Services Association (Income Tax) replied in the affirmative, but said he was not aware of the IRS officers leaving service due to high workload.

“People have left service, but mostly for personal reasons. Some of them wanted to settle overseas with their children or for starting a practice of income tax laws,” the officer said, wishing not to be named.

Also Read- India Second to US in Demanding Facebook User Data, Requests Up by 37%

Many businesses in the past have complained of tax terrorism. But the government has allayed their fear maintaining that only realistic collection targets have been set in consultation with the concerned officers.

Earlier, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman went on multi-city tour to meet representatives of trade and business assuring them of no harassment by tax authorities. (IANS)