New Delhi: India’s top 30 defaulters account for a third of the gross non-performing assets (NPAs) in the banking sector, according to data obtained from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) through a right to information (RTI) request.
As of March 31, India’s scheduled commercial banks had gross NPAs worth Rs 9.49 lakh crore.
According to data furnished by the RBI in response to an RTI filed by The Wire, the top 30 NPA borrowers account for Rs 2.86 lakh crore.
The central bank has, however, refused to divulge information on who these 30 accounts belong to, saying “the account-wise information is not available with us.”
The RBI’s refusal may run against the grain of a Supreme Court order earlier this year that demanded that the banking regulator be more forthcoming in disclosing the details of defaulters, among other issues.
Setting aside the legal issue though, the RBI’s reasons for not disclosing the identity of the top 30 NPA borrowers raise their own set of questions.
For example, if the banking regulator does not have account-wise information as it says, how then was it able to know which borrowers constituted the top 30 NPA accounts and provide the aggregate amount owed by these accounts?
The Wire had also asked the RBI for details of the top 30 wilful defaulters. That too was not provided, with the central bank saying, “The list of suit filed wilful defaulters 25 lakh and above is available in the public domain on the websites of Credit Information Companies.”