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bad loans: Public sector banks lost Rs 9 crore every hour in fiscal year 2017-18

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NEW DELHI: Government-owned banks are busy cleaning their books and the dirt that’s coming off them is enough to swallow thousands of houses and bury dreams of smarter cities.

Losses of public sector banks (PSBs) add up to over Rs 79,000 crore and bad loans to a whopping Rs 8.6 lakh crore for the fiscal year 2017-18 — both highest ever in the country’s banking history.

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PERSPECTIVE

Size of the 2017-18 annual budget was Rs 24.4 lakh crore. Giving free LPG connections required just Rs 13,000 crore. The entire annual budget for agriculture is Rs 58,000 crore. All central sector schemes add up to Rs 7.1 lakh crore – less than the hole created by PSU banks.

Banking services impacted as PSU staff go on 2-day strike

Since the strike coincides with the month-end, salary withdrawals from branches are likely to get affected. Some ATMs may also take a hit. However, operations in the private banks like ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank were almost normal, barring few activities including cheque clearance.

HOW IS YOUR MONEY AFFECTED?

Last year, the government announced a recapitalisation package of Rs 2.11 lakh crore for PSBs – Rs 90,000 crore for 2017-18 and the rest for this year. The losses mean taxpayer money will just end up covering losses instead of helping these banks get better and profitable.

WHY THIS SITUATION?

Banks have been providing for bad loans in the last two years. The first push came in March 2016 when the then Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Raghuram Rajan made classification of loans as non-performing assets (NPAs) stricter and then in February this year when his successor Urjit Patel forced banks to cancel all restructuring schemes.

WHAT ABOUT PRIVATE BANKS?

They made a net profit of Rs 42,000 crore in the same year.

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Updated: May 30, 2018 — 11:59 am

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