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Public sector banks account for 33% of Govt of India's RTI rejections, coinciding with sharp rise in NPAs or bad debts

Counterview Desk
India’s 25 public sector banks (PSBs) received more than 73,000 Right to Information (RTI) applications in the financial year 2016-17, which is 9% of the total number of RTI applications received by all reporting public authorities of the Government of India. However, a new study has found that they accounted for a whopping 33% of the rejections, too.
Bringing this to light, the study by the well-known Delhi-based advocacy group Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), has said that this suggests resistance to transparency has “increased during this period, particularly when the banking sector is going through a difficult phase.”
Thus, the study finds that, in 11 PSBs, during the year 2016-17, both the number of RTI applications and the volume of net non-performing assets (NPAs) or bad debts increased.
These are: Andhra Bank (3.67% : 71.56%), Bank of Maharashtra (3.99% : 62.29%), Canara Bank (36.56% : 3.92%), Corporation Bank (34.93% : 27.64%), Dena Bank (2.19% : 47.88%), IDBI Bank Ltd. (1.63% : 72.13%), Indian Bank (7.65% : 3.45%) Indian Overseas Bank (5.71% : 2.79%), State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur (3.14% : 240.60%), Syndicate Bank (17.94% : 15.49%) and United Bank of India (608.89% : 7.87%).
“Only 2 PSBs, namely, Punjab National Bank (-5.70% : -7.68%), Bank of Baroda (-5.20% : -6.83%) reported a downward trend in the receipt of RTI applications and fall in the size of net NPAs”, the study says.
The highest rejections, says the study, was by the State Bank of Hyderabad, which rejected a record 71% RTI applications, followed by the Oriental Bank of Commerce 50% rejection rate, Corporation Bank 47.3%, Andhra Bank 45.9%, Dena Bank and Canara Bank both 40%, and so on.
Prepared by senior RTI activist Venkatesh Nayak, the study says, as for Punjab National Bank, which has been in the news recently because of the more than USD 1.8 billion- Letters of Undertaking (LoU) fraud allegedly committed in collusion with certain business houses, rejected almost 33% RTI applications.
The study reveals, a large number of PSBs and Reserve Bank of India rejected more RTI applications under “Others” category instead of the legally permissible exemptions to disclosure provided under the RTI Act. In the “Others” category, PSBs rejected 6,625 RTI applications, as against 6,616 RTI applications were rejected under Section 8(1)(j), relating to personal information and the protection available for privacy – the most frequently invoked of legally permissible exemptions.
The study, which is based on the data made available in the Chief Information Commission’s Annual Report, “RBI also rejected more than half (57%) of the RTI applications it received in 2016-17 under ‘Others’ category.”
Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act was the most frequently invoked of legally permissible exemptions, says the study. Under this provision the disclosure of personal information of an individual whose privacy must be protected is exempt. State Bank of India invoked this exemption to reject more than 1,100 RTI applications along with 10 other PSBs that rejected more than 200 RTI applications by invoking this exemption.
While all 25 PSBs and RBI invoked Section 8(1)(e) of the RTI Act to reject between six to more than 900 RTI applications, State Bank of India invoked this Section to reject 902 RTI applications – almost three times more than Syndicate Bank and Canara Bank, both of which rejected more than 380 RTI applications each, the study says.
Section 8(1)(e) of the RTI Act exempts information that is available to a person in his fiduciary relationship. Fiduciary relationships are trust-based relationships such as those between a doctor and a patient, a lawyer and a client, parents and their children, managers of orphanages and the wards living there.
The study further says, Ten PSBs invoked the Cabinet-related exemption of the RTI Act [Section 8(1)(i)] to reject 223 RTI applications. Interestingly, Two thirds of these RTI applications were rejected by only two PSBs, State Bank of India and Corporation Bank.
Twenty four PSBs invoked Section 8(1)(d) more than 4,200 times to reject RTI applications in 2016-17. Section 8(1)(d) of the RTI Act protects information that is in the nature of commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property rights (IPRs) where disclosure will harm the competitive position of a “third party”.

Comments

SAMIR SARDANA said…
THE RBI DELIBERATELY HIDES THE NAMES OF NPA AND FRAUDS,SO THAT THESE CRMINAL BORROWERS GET A CHANCE TO LOOT OTHER BANKS AND NBFCs, AND SO THE CREDIT AND GDP KEEPS MOVING !

THIS IS THE CORE OF THE BUSINESS MODEL OF THE RBI ! IF THESE NAMES ARE KNOWN - NO ONE WILL LEND TO THEM OR THEIR SUPPLY CHAIN - AND THAT WILL BE THE END OF BANKING ! dindooohindoo

FACT IS - RBI AIDS CRMINALS
FACT IS - W/O THESE CRIMINALS THERE IS NO INDIAN INDUSTRY AND NO INDIAN BANKING !

. Why can the RBI not disclose the names of the NPA and Fraud borrowers ? .Besides the fact that the data can be obtained from the FIR and Court Records (as any Court record can inspected and copied after paying a fees and giving an affidavit) and is also possibly available with CIBIL on the web
• At this stage it is assumed that a Borrower identified for fraud AS AN NPA from A BANK in this nation and/or on whom a FIR is filed would NOT be able to avail of loans from any other FINANCIAL INSTITUTION in this nation OR WITH STRINGENT CONDITIONS AND SECURITIES ( by law and disclosure of data to all FINANCIAL INSTITUTION s) - this is the least that Indians can HOPE for.It is assumed that this honor would also extend to all Directors and Promoters of the borrower AND THE ASSOCIATE AND GROUP COMPANIES
• WHY SHOULD THIS CAVEAT AND CAUTION NOT BE AVAILABLE TO ALL CITIZENS AND ENTITIES IN THIS NATION OR FOREIGNERS AND OVERSEAS ENTITIES OPERATING IN THIS NATION ?
• THIS RIGHT TO HAVE THE LIST OF THE FRAUDULENT AND NPA BORROWERS IS SOUGHT BY EMPLOYEES,CREDITORS,CHIT FUNDS, DEPOSITORS, DEALERS, SUPPLIERS, SMALL FINANCIERS,MSME, NIDHIS,CO-OPERATIVES, FARMERS ,SPECIALISED REGULATORS ETC TO ENSURE THAT THEY ARE NOT DEPRIVED OF THEIR RIGHT TO PROPERTY,ASSETS AND PEACE OF MIND - AND ITS REFUSAL IS A VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 14 AND 21 OF PART 3 OF THE INDIAN CONSTITUTION
• Is the aim of the RBI and the Banking system to shift these fraudulent /NPA borrowers to alternative financiers - and then use those collections to make a settlement and recovery from the borrower ? Is that in public interest ?
• Is it the mandate of the RBI and the banks to protect financial criminals and inept managements and assists them in fund and income generation ?
- Is a perception that the BANKERS are HIDING THEIR CORRUPTION, COLLUSION AND NEGLIGENCE IN THE BANK FRAUDS/NPAs - BY SUPPRESSING THE NAMES OF THE BORROWERS - IN PUBLIC INTEREST AND THE CREDIBILITY OF THE FINANCIAL INSTITUTION ING SYSTEM
• Is it not in public interest to know IF THE FRAUDULENT /NPA BORROWERS HAVE A NEXUS OR CONNECTION WITH BANK STAFF OR THE BANK BOARD OR THE BANK STAFF AND BOARD OR THE POLITCAL APPOINTEES ON THE BANK BOARDS,AUDITORS , MINISTERS AND POLITICANS ?
- Can a BANK fraud enquiry be concluded w/o a FIR ? If a Politician has to disclose all his Cases to the CEC and is placed in the public domain - why can the BANK borrowers on whom charge sheets are filed – NOT be in the public domain - due to their proximate of possible connections with Politicians, possibility of being in public positions (Hospitals,Schools, NGOs etc),operations in sensitive businesses (defense,pharma,anti-narcotics etc.) etc
- Even if the NPA borrower is sustaining its operations by alternative financing and other unethical practices - it poses a big risk to its supply and value chain and also on matters of insurance, manufacturing risk, no R & M and matters of quality and adulteration and mislabelling on products of public import - such as food and pharma - Is this in public interest
- By not placing the information in the public domain - the RBI and the Banking system is providing the impetus to the borrower to repeat the fraud/ineptitude with the supply chain and the Alt-Financiers - as the primary aim of the borrower is to warehouse and ring fence the funds in offshore jurisdictions, erase forensic trails and set the base for complex and protracted litigations

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