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Desist From Steps Like Farm Debt Waiver: Bankers to Government

Bankers on Thursday asked the government to desist from resorting to populist measures like farm debt waivers as it affects lenders profitability.
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New Delhi: Bankers on Thursday asked the government to desist from resorting to populist measures like farm debt waivers as it affects their profitability.

During a pre-Budget consultative meeting with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, representatives of banks and financial institutions also suggested they should be incentivized for digital/plastic payment in lieu of cash payments by giving 1 per cent cash credit incentive and exemption from service tax to digital payments.

Uniform stamp duty for mortgages, and measures for early settlement of disputes through DRTs including Lok Adalats, were among the other suggestions given by them.

Recently, the Telangana government has given the mandated 25 per cent of the written off loan amount to the banks.

In 2008, the then UPA government at Centre had come out with Agricultural Debt Waiver and Debt Relief Scheme (ADWDRS) 2008 under which 3.69 crore small and marginal farmers and 60 lakh other farmers were given debt relief to the extent of Rs 52,516.

In his remarks, Mr Jaitley said there is an "immediate need to give impetus" to credit growth. Credit growth on year-on-year basis declined to 10 per cent in September 2014.

The Finance Minister also pointed out that growth in deposits have also declined to 12.9 per cent as of September 2014 from 13.7 per cent as of March 2014.

Talking to reporters after the meeting, CMD of Indian Bank T M Bhasin said suggestions with regards to direct taxes and service tax matters were also given.

"We also suggested the Rs 1.5 lakh (tax exemption) limit can be enhanced under 80C of I-T Act," he added.

The representatives of the banks and financial institutions present during the meeting included Urjit Patel (Deputy Governor, RBI), Arundhati Bhattacharya (chairman, SBI), S K Roy (chairman, LIC), Shikha Sharma (managing director and CEO, Axis Bank), Pramit Jhaveri (CEO, Citibank India), Aditya Puri (MD, HDFC Bank) and M G George Muthoot (chairman, Muthoot Group).



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