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Relief to bankers! Genuine business decisions won’t be questioned, says PM Modi

FE Bureau
corporate tax rate, Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, PM Modi, non-food credit growth, bankers, commercial decisions, Citizenship Amendment Bill 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday sought to assuage fears of already risk-averse bankers, asserting that their genuine business decisions won't be questioned and they would be allowed to work without any apprehension.

Speaking at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, Modi said: "Before any action is taken (against bankers), a scrutiny by a serving finance or banking expert will be conducted. A guideline in this regard will be issued shortly. There is pressure on the banking sector and we will work to improve it." He also added that his government showed the courage to merge state-run banks and recapitalise them. The government recently announced its plans to merge as many as 10 state-run banks to create four larger lenders with stronger balance sheets to support the growing credit appetite of the economy.

The statement comes at a time when non-food credit growth is hovering around a two-year low and several senior bankers have been accused of being complicit in frauds. Already, to expedite the decision-making process and prevent harassment for genuine commercial decisions by bankers, the Central Vigilance Commission has issued directions that the Internal Advisory Committee (IAC) in banks will classify cases as vigilance and non-vigilance.

The decision of the IAC and the bank's chief vigilance officer will be treated as final.

The Prime Minister also said the recent sharp cut in the corporate tax rate will promote investment and spur manufacturing in India. The government, he stressed, is working as an enabler, facilitator and promoter for turning India into a $5 trillion economy (over the next five years). "We are moving forward with reform and perform… We are working on connecting 15 crore households with piped water supply."

Criticising the previous governments for making promises without any actual work on paper, the Prime Minister said his government was focussed on performance. "Unlike the previous governments, we are not practising politics of promises. Instead, we are taking the country towards politics of performance. We have set goals for ourselves and promoted this culture of performance," he said.

In his first remark after the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was cleared by the Union Cabinet, Modi said the Indian citizenship for those facing persecution in their home countries will ensure that they get a better tomorrow.

"The Ram Janmabhoomi verdict proved that we can have a better tomorrow. We cannot be chained by the past. People were casting aspersions that the verdict will cause unrest in the country, but the people of the country proved them wrong," he said.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to grant citizenship to non-Muslims facing religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, was cleared by the Cabinet on Wednesday and is likely to be introduced in Parliament next week.

"Hundreds of people from the neighbouring countries, who are facing persecution in these countries, those who have faith in Mother India, with the road open for Indian citizenship, their better future will be ensured," Modi said, without naming the proposed law.

Referring to the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution, the Prime Minister said the decision might seem a politically difficult one, but it had raised a new hope of development for the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

He also said he was against government’s interference in people’s lives and advocated for minimum government and maximum governance.

"The government must exit people’s lives as soon as possible. For a better tomorrow, the government needs to work in the core areas. Good governance will provide a better future to the people of the country," the prime minister said.

(With inputs from PTI)