It is rather a strange case of perverse economics that banks were nationalised to make credit available to the priority sector but ended up lending to companies like Kingfisher or Gitanjali Group and many other such dubious companies, which misused the bank credit and caused losses to the banks. The owners of such dubious companies fled the country and settled abroad. The banks suffered scams which raised questions about their way of working and the integrity of their top management. The total money involved is more than eight lakh crore rupees. No small sum. This money comes from the tax payers of India- the honest tax payers with low incomes but under the tax net for the reason that tax in their case is deducted at source. Hence, they can’t evade tax. Compare these middle class individuals with the swindlers of public money from the banks and you will be filled with disgust.
The strange phenomenon is that none of the swindlers could cheat any private bank- they committed robbery on public sector banks only. It was easy for them to form criminal nexus with ministers, bureaucrats and bankers and indulge in all kinds of unlawful activities as exposed in cases of Kingfisher Airlines owned by Vijay Mallya to the tune of Rs. 9000 Crore, Mehul Choksi and Navin Modi of Gitajali group of companies to the tune of approximately 16000 Crore, Rotomac group of Bhandari and many other names. The bankers blindly followed unlawful orders of the ministers and bureaucrats or acted mostly on their own volition and committed dacoity on public funds with impunity. Being a part of the nexus helped them get out of any sticky situation when any scandal got exposed. Their misdeeds were ignored consciously by the revenue intelligence agencies as well vigilance authorities. These scandalous operations were going on for decades, but sadly continued even during the changed government of Narendra Modi. This goes to prove the strength of the nexus, their hardened attitude to transparency and integrity, their faith in their own success. Any average offender would have stopped doing what the Punjab National Bank officials did till about two months back by LoUs or releasing payments to Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, without proper authorisation by the competent authority in the PNB.
Corruption succeeds through an unlawful system of bypassing the established channels of a hierarchy, thereby treating the junior functionaries as authorised person and keeping the genuinely authorised persons in the dark. All such activities are done for a cut or commission as it involves risk of career and reputation. That such activities continued in the PSBs even after Narendra Modi becoming the Prime Minister, who promised not to take commission nor allow others to take it, is a bit disheartening. It means the corrupt don’t fear either the law or the highest authority in the government and go about their business nonchalantly.
People don’t expect the Prime Minister to sit in every bank branch.
They also appreciate that PM Modi could not afford to pay all the attention to irregularities. He made this known to all Heads of Departments and employees. He expected, like an honest gentleman, them to improve, reform, transform and perform. Such appeals don’t impress the seasoned corrupt elements who had seen many ups and downs as governments changed but they remained unharmed.
For them only the man changed not the ways of governance.
However, it can no more be ignored and the PM has to take drastic action to restore public trust.
There being hardly nine more working months before the code of conduct comes into effect for Election 2019, the PM has to demonstrate exemplary action on ground in cleaning the public sector banks. A Swachhata Abhiyan for the PSBs is the need of the hour.
It is not only the public money but individual loss too which the public has borne for the prime minister Narendra Modi.
The people have lost in terms of fall in interest rates on term deposits. The retired people suffered the biggest blow along with low income people saving in recurring deposits or term deposits.
Small loans for higher studies, livelihood ventures, tiny, cottage, small business ventures or industries are difficult to get. Collateral of more than 125% is the normal but banks demand property as additional collateral, which is vulgar & indecent besides anti-aam aadmi.
Crores of individuals have suffered whereas a few individuals have stolen the wealth of the people.
This cause of public anger can take the shape of a serious revolt for mismanaging the economy and can prove really very costly.
The left, TMC, Congress, NCP, RJD, BSP, SP etc. are already carrying on a campaign to discredit the government. The government has only one option: to prove all of them wrong.
For this they need to move fast and bring the economic offenders to justice in the next two months to make a visible impact.
It needs no reiteration that the erosion of interest income for the middle class affects the education of the children and marriage of the girls besides the senior citizens who depend on pensions and interest income. It is a real hit.
The victims are naturally hurt and so very angry, but believe that it is for a good cause as Prime Minister Modi is doing everything for the betterment of their life.
If this trust is affected even slightly by bank scandals, hidden from public view like a few names mentioned hereinbefore, the results will be drastic.
Time to wake up and take the call.
Enough of persuasion; it is time now for harsh action.
The cooperative banks are in very bad shape and demand urgent audit and follow up action without caring for the political bosses controlling them. The choice before the government is between trust of the masses and the scandalous classes.