PTI photo by Subhav Shukla
PTI photo by Subhav Shukla

New Delhi : The Finance Minister ruled out privatisation of public sector banks as a response to the Rs 11,400-crore fraud hitting Punjab National Bank, saying the move may not be politically acceptable. He said a lot of people have started talking of privatisation in the aftermath of the PNB fraud. “This (privatisation) involves a large political consensus. Also, that involves an amendment to the law (Banking Regulation Act). My impression is that Indian political opinion may not find favour with this idea itself. It’s a very challenging decision,” he said. Industry body Assocham has also urged the government to reduce its stake in public sector banks to less than 50 per cent so that they can work with the sense of accountability and with the interest of stakeholders and depositors on priority. Some industrialists too have supported bank privatisation.

FM backs conducting simultaneous elections

He reiterated the need for simultaneous elections to be conducted in the country, adding that this would be good for India. ” From both a governance and expenditure point of view, to have two to three elections every year is a serious challenge. If elections are held every five years, India will see comfortable governance at the centre and state, and better policy formulation, besides lesser expenditure,” he said. Speaking on political funding, he said that with the concept of electoral bonds in place, the unclean money in political donations would be converted to clean money.

He slams regulators’ failure to detect fraud

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday slammed regulators for failing to detect the Rs 11,400-crore fraud at Punjab National Bank for seven long years, saying unlike politicians, regulators in the Indian system are unaccountable. Speaking on the scam for the second time this week, he said employees conniving with fraudsters is worrisome. Also worrisome is that no red flag was raised. Regulators should have a “third eye” open to detect and check such frauds. He said the industry needs to get into the habit of doing ‘ethical’ business as such frauds are “scars”.

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