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Indian banks continue to stand strong and resilient; over Rs 15,000 crore restituted to PSBs following ED action: Sitharaman

New Delhi: Indian banks continue to stand healthy, strong and resilient amidst global turmoil and while Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) are coming down, profit margins are going up, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Tuesday.

Replying to queries during question hour in Rajya Sabha, Sitharaman said banks had recovered Rs 33,801 crore from wilful defaulters by March 31 this year with over Rs 15,000 crore returned through Enforcement Directorate actions under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

"Amidst the global turmoil and sorry state of affairs as regards the banking systems, the Indian banks continue to stand healthy, strong and resilient. In our country, not only the Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) are coming down but also the profit margins are going up," she said.

Answering a query from Congress member Jairam Ramesh on wilful defaulters, Sitharaman said action was being taken by the concerned agencies. Chairman Jagadeep Dhankhar allowed several supplementaries to the main question.

"As of March 31, 2023 - legal suits were filed for recovery against 13,978 loan accounts. - Action under the SARFAESI Act has been initiated in 11,483 cases. - FIRs have been filed in 5,674 cases. - An aggregate amount of Rs 33,801 crore has been recovered. Specific actions through various legal provisions are being taken against defaulters and as a result, money is going back to the banks," she added.

The minister said assets amounting to Rs 692.89 crores have been confiscated under the provisions of the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018.

"As of December 1, 2023, assets amounting to Rs 15,186.64 crores under the PMLA have been confiscated by the ED out of which Rs 15,183.77 crores have been restituted to the Public Sector Banks. PMC Bank has recovered Rs 104.02 crores with active cooperation and support from agencies. Assets amounting to Rs 692.89 crores have been confiscated under the provisions of the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018," she said. (ANI)

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