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PSUs to manage stressed assets of banks: Jaitley

PSUs to manage stressed assets of banks: Jaitley

State-owned firms such as NTPC and SAIL will be roped in to manage the stressed assets of banks so as to effectively deal with the problem of bad loans, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Monday.

“The government has already taken a series of steps. In some cases, we already have seen exits in order to lower their (group) debts and make them more sustainable. The Oversight Committee is dealing with some cases which have now arisen on account of various steps that have been taken,” he said.

After chairing the meeting on stressed assets in steel, power and shipping sectors, Jaitley said: “Today’s agenda was whether in some cases we can also involve the management team of certain established and successful PSUs in certain sectors to operate, at least at the interim, some of the plants.” The meeting was attended by chairpersons of three important PSUs, NTPC, SAIL and Cochin Shipyard Ltd.

The meeting also deliberated as to what can be done in case of certain defaulters, whose assets have found no takers.

Jaitley said banks will invoke their power of converting debt into equity in such cases, and some entities will come up to take over the stressed assets.

“Today one of the legitimate problems is whenever some assets are put out, there are no takers so the takers will be created,” he said.

The meeting was attended by Department of Financial Services, Economic Affairs Secretary and Officials from PMO and Secretaries and representatives from Steel, Power and Shipping were present.

“The concerned secretaries have been asked to coordinate between the banks and concerned PSU heads. I think they will start immediately,” he said.

The three sectors account for bulk of gross non-performing assets (NPAs) which surged to 9.32 per cent (Rs 4.76 lakh crore) in 2015-16.