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On Saturday finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman introduced eBKray, an online platform to enable online auction of attached assets by banks and at the same time increase the transparency in the auctioning of these assets. The e-auction platform is now linked on Indian Banks Auctions Mortgaged Properties Information (IBAPI) portal and guidelines have been made available.
The platform has property search feature along with navigational links to all PSB e-auction sites, and it has single-window access to information on properties up for e-auction, as well as it provides the facility for comparison of similar properties, and also contains photographs as well as videos of the uploaded premises.
As of 27 December, Public Sector Banks (PSBs) have uploaded 35,000 properties on the platform, as per the statement provided by the Finance Ministry. In the last three financial years, properties of over Rs 2.3 lakh crore were attached by PSBs.
Currently, there are 576 commercials, 2,457 residential, 333 industrial and 18 agricultural properties are available on eBKray platform among others.
IBAPI portal is designed to help buyers. Via IBAPI buyers can search properties and can also access the details of the property and participate in the auction process. At present 21 banks are using this portal.
To prevent the harassment of bankers and facilitate decision-making at a time of increased fraud, it was decided that the Central Bureau of Investigation would soon come forward and call for a meeting with banks and address their doubts and queries. Meetings with the officials of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Enforcement Directorate and income tax and customs departments are in pipeline with the finance minister.
The meeting chaired by Sitharaman was not only attended by finance ministry officials and bankers but it also marked the presence of CBI director RK Shukla and two joint directors of the agency.
CBI is planning to come up with a mechanism- similar to the one recently introduced by the taxman-so that all its notices must have a registration number that further squeeze any scope for unauthorized communications. CBI can only take up any bank fraud case when PSBs approach the agency once it gets clearance from its own institutional mechanism.
Sitharman guided open division banks to quick clear pending vigilance cases, accumulated throughout the years against their authorities for supposed acts of neglect. PSBs will set up advisory groups under GM-level authorities for this reason.
The Finance Ministry of India has carried out enough reforms that helped banks in reducing bad loans. The gross non-performing assets (NPAs) have seen a tail off from Rs8.96 lakh crore in March 2018 to Rs7.27 lakh crore in September 2019. Though, their provision coverage ratio reached its highest level in seven years.
Ministry further added, “To further capitalize banks and improve their capacity to lend, additional infusion of Rs8, 855 crore (Rs 4,360 crore to Indian Overseas Bank, Rs 2,153 crore to Allahabad Bank, Rs 2,142 crore to UCO Bank and Rs 200 crore to Andhra Bank) has been approved in addition to the release of Rs 60,314 crore so far this fiscal.”
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