Wilful defaulter definition will cover directors too says Rajan

Talking about the norms for non-cooperative defaulters, the RBI governor said the guidelines have been formulated to tackle those borrowers who resist repaying at every corner and hold up the entire repayment process


Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan on Tuesday said the central bank is in the process of redefining the definition of wilful defaulters to bring directors of defaulting companies under its ambit.


"The (Calcutta High) Court had some questions about whether all directors could be declared wilful defaulters and we have looked at that. We are in the process of modifying the definition so that the directors, if seen, as culpable in actively participating or being grossly negligent of wilful default," Rajan said at the customary post-policy interactions with the media.


According to the current definition, a wilful defaulter is somebody who has essentially not used the funds for the purpose it has been borrowed or when he has not repaid when he can do so; when he has siphoned off the funds or when he disposed of the assets pledged for availing of loan without the bank's knowledge.


Recently, United Bank of India declared Kingfisher Airlines as well as some three of its directors as wilful defaulters. The decision of the single bench, that accepted the bank's position, was later stayed by a division of the Calcutta High Court last weekend.


Talking about the norms for non-cooperative defaulters, Rajan said the guidelines have been formulated to tackle those borrowers who resist repaying at every corner and hold up the entire repayment process.


He said in such cases, the recourse to legal remedy, allowable by the laws from a prudential perspective, imposes a cost to the system because banks cannot get their money using the existing laws such as the Sarfesi Act.


"Therefore, in those situations where there is a deliberate attempt to delay the process of recovery after due process is being followed, can we find a way of declaring these borrowers as non-cooperatives?," Rajan asked.


On the rising non-performing asset (NPA) levels in the system, the RBI governor said the central bank is following the issue very closely and banks have been asked to take timely action to deal with the matter.


In the banking system, NPAs rose to 4.1% as of the June quarter, while the total stressed assets including the recast loans rose close to 11%.



Anil Agashe

2 years ago

Excellent move. Hope it happens quickly and in this case may be retrospectively! We need show no mercy to willful defaulters. Distressed that HC has stayed calling Mallya one. Let the lender decide that. Courts need have no say in the matter.

Moneylife Foundation Gets the 10th MR Pai Memorial Award

It’s our first award and vindicates the hard work put in by the entire Moneylife team for the hapless financial consumer


Moneylife Foundation was honoured with the prestigious MR Pai Memorial Award on 16th September. This was the 10th year of the Aaward. Among the previous awardees are: Pushpa Girimaji, Manubhai Shah (founder CERC, Ahmedabad), Pradeep S Mehta (of CUTS, Jaipur), Dr YV Reddy (former governor of RBI), Sunita Narain (Centre for Science & Environment), Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) and Shirish Deshpande of the Mumbai Grahak Panchayat.
Sucheta Dalal and Debashis Basu, founder-trustees of Moneylife Foundation, received the Award from Dr Deepali Pant Joshi, executive director of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The Award has been instituted in the memory of MR Pai, a well-known crusader for consumers’ rights especially in banking and telecom. The Award carries a citation and prize money of Rs1 lakh and is sponsored by the Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative Bank Ltd (PMC Bank), a progressive and innovative cooperative bank based in Mumbai. 
The selection process is handled by the All India Bank Depositors’ Association (AIBDA) which was founded and led by Mr Pai for several decades. The event itself is conducted in association with AIBDA and the Forum of Free Enterprise (FFE), another organisation that Mr Pai headed for a long time. 
Introducing the Award and its aim, CS Chadha, chairman of PMC Bank said, “The Award was set up in memory of MR Pai who had done tremendous work for consumers’ protection. The prize money was increased to Rs1 lakh from Rs50,000 in 2009 and the Bank is proud to felicitate activists, journalists and NGOs who are carrying forward the legacy and work of the late MR Pai.” 
In his acceptance speech, Mr Basu, said, “We feel highly honoured and absolutely humbled to accept the 10th MR Pai Memorial Award on behalf of our entire team at Moneylife Foundation and over 30,000 Moneylifers! This is our first award and so it will always be the most cherished one. We hope we will always be able to live up to the high expectations that it builds. What makes this all the more precious is that this award salutes the memory of a stalwart in the field of consumer activism and a pioneer of the rights of bank depositors.”
The Award ceremony was attended by several members, supporters and donors of Moneylife Foundation as well as members of AIBDA, FFE and officials from RBI and PMC Bank. 
Dr Deepali Pant Joshi, in her address, made several key points that expressed her own views and RBI’s overall vision with regard to various matters of banking and consumer protection. She said, “While the line between regulation and paternalism is a very fine one, RBI has made conscious efforts to stick to regulation and stay away from the latter.” She went on to address the issues of financial inclusion, customer awareness and fiduciary responsibility. With a renewed push for financial inclusion, and the wider use of technology and banking correspondents, safeguarding customer interests, especially in rural areas, becomes an even more daunting task. 
In this context, she said that, since the 2008 crisis, the financial sector has been driven by the idea of consumer awareness and greater awareness about financial products, services and risks involved. She spoke about the need for an ‘ingrained suitability clause in financial products’. This would naturally imply that the time was opportune for the financial services sector and banking institutions to move from the maxim of caveat emptor (buyer beware) to caveat venditor (seller beware), she added. 
“The only watchword is that the present customer experience should be better than the experience of the previous generation of customers,” said Dr Joshi.
Congratulating this year’s MR Pai Memorial awardee, Moneylife Foundation, she said, “While it is the job and mission of the regulator to safeguard customer interests, it is organisations like Moneylife Foundation that add to the efforts of the regulator and provide valuable inputs in creating improved customer service policy framework, over time.”
Towards the end, the RBI executive director said that “while technology has expanded the reach of banking services and financial products, it also suffers from the pitfall of de-humanisation of the banker-customer relationship and the fall of trust between the two.” She added that “the friendly neighbourhood banker and the feet-on-the-street banker is a disappearing breed.” She concluded by sharing RBI’s vision in drafting the first iteration of the Consumer Rights Charter, a first for Indian banks and customers, and she encouraged the audience to share their ideas with RBI in making the Charter better and stronger for customer rights.
Excerpts from the Citation
“Through various activities of Moneylife Foundation, both Sucheta and Debashis have sought to empower those who work hard, earn, spend, save, deposit, borrow, invest and yet do not get due returns on their hard-earned money.
“The social impact of their activities is enhanced by the daily email dispatched to more than 100,000 subscribers and by free access to the Moneylife Knowledge Centre, which is well-equipped with a seminar hall cum library.
“During four and half years of operations, the Foundation has a nationwide membership of 30,000 members and has conducted more than 220 events at the rate of almost one every week... They have shown an innovative path in delivering lasting results to those less able to help themselves. In doing so, they have also created a valuable platform to address even non-financial issues and subject of topical interests...
“In recognition of its immense contribution in impacting common people seeking fair treatment and justice, the Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative Bank Limited and All-India Bank Depositors’ Association (Mumbai) are privileged to confer the Tenth MR Pai Memorial Award to Moneylife Foundation.”


Maneka Gandhi launches new guaranteed Minimum Pension Scheme

The Union Minister of Women and Child Development, Maneka Sanjay Gandhi gave away certificates of increased pension to the first ten pensioners


The Union Minister of Women and Child Development, Maneka Sanjay Gandhi presided over a function to launch the New Guaranteed Minimum Pension Scheme of Government of India in Dehradun. The Minister gave away certificates of increased pension to first ten pensioners. The government announced the launch of a guaranteed minimum pension of Rs1,000 per month under the Employees Pension Scheme, 1995.


Under the new scheme, the pension has been increased from Rs650 to Rs1,000. Also, the maximum wage limit for eligibility has been increased from Rs6,500 per month to Rs15,000 per month.


Speaking on the occasion, Maneka Gandhi said that this measure has been taken by the government to provide increased social security to workers through the Pension Scheme.


The Minister said that the pension is a small token of gratitude which the nation pays to workers who spend a life time in building the nation through their hard work. Maneka Gandhi also explained the benefits of integrating Jan Dhan Yojana and Employees Scheme which will now enable the Pension to go directly into the accounts of the workers.


The Minister also gave a preview of Swachch Bharat Yojana of the government and its critical applicability to an environmentally fragile state like Uttarakhand.



MG Warrier

2 years ago

If the government is serious about ensuring a reasonably secure post-employment/retirement life for workers who earn 'starvation wages', the organisations like PFRDA (implementing National Pension System), LIC and EPFO should put their heads together and implement schemes that will get resources from employers when employees serve and by managing the funds prudently, these organisations should be in a position to pay a decent regular pension for retirees and their survivors. Rs1000 wll be inadequate, even if the Parliament House canteen facilities are thrown open to pensioners.


2 years ago

I checked this increase in my Pension scheme with Provident Fund Office at Mangalore. This increase is only for those pensioners who had opted for family pension at the age of 58. Please check your increase in pension at your respective EPFO Offices.

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