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Fraud-hit PNB to use Gandhigiri to recover Rs 150 crore of bad loans every month

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New Delhi :Sitting silently with placards outside offices and residences of defaulters, the staff of Punjab National Bank hope to ‘name and shame’ such borrowers to recover up to Rs 150 crore worth bad loans every month under its nearly one-year-old ‘Mission Gandhigiri’.

The state-owned lender, which has been at the receiving end of the over Rs 13,000 crore fraud involving diamond merchants Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, on Friday said it is intensifying the initiative, amid rising concerns over non-performing assets in the banking system.

Under ‘Mission Gandhigiri’, a recovery mechanism launched by PNB in May 2017, a team visits the borrower’s office or residence and sits there silently. Currently, there are 1,144 field staff members who are driving the mission.

 

“Through this initiative, the recovery team wishes to achieve its primary objective of getting these defaulters to the negotiation table and aim to recover Rs 100-150 crore in a month,” the bank said in a statement.

Following the government’s directions regarding wilful defaulters, PNB said it has taken a lead by taking strong steps over the past few weeks.

“The bank has already declared 1,084 wilful defaulters and published photos of 260 such defaulters in newspapers,” it said.

The bank further said due to its aggressive stance towards wilful defaulters, 150 passports have been impounded over the past few months and the bank has also lodged 37 FIRs against defaulters.

Also, in a bid to leverage data analytics for loan recovery and risk management, the bank said it has tied up with a leading credit agency.

“This partnership will not only help the bank with loan recovery but will also help identify and automate profitable lending strategies and minimise credit and fraud risk,” it said.

The bank is also working towards improving internal systems by incorporating analytics and artificial intelligence for reconciliation of accounts.

PNB also said its two special ‘One Time Settlement’ (OTS) schemes have helped accelerate NPA recovery.

As per the bank, from an average of recovering loan amount from 70,000-80,000 NPA accounts in a year, OTS has resulted in recovery from 2,25,000 NPA accounts over a span of 10 months.

The bank had gross non-performing assets (NPAs) of Rs 57,519 crore or 12.11 per cent of gross advances as of December 2017.


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Income Tax return processing time to reduce from 63 days to just 1 day

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Mumbai:The Union Cabinet approved an integrated income-tax e-filing and centralised processing centre (CPC) portal, which will reduce the return processing time from 63 days to just one day. The new portal is also expected to process the refunds within one day of filing of tax returns, in huge relief for taxpayers. However, one will have to wait for 18 months to see its launch.

“Earlier, taxpayers would face troubles because of delay in refund processing and the CBDT used to spend a lot of money every year as interest on pending refunds, which will be history now,” Union minister Piyush Goyal told reporters after the Cabinet meeting here.

Last month, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Chairman Sushil Chandra had said a simplified return form and process would be put in place soon in which the department would process the self-declaration made by the taxpayer. The new Rs 4,241-crore project will incorporate these changes.

 

“This is a laudable initiative and will go a long way to ease tax compliance, and enhanced experience for taxpayers. However, the real success of this will be measured when it brings ease to a common man and is accompanied by changes in the culture of the tax authorities at the operational level,” said Neeru Ahuja, partner, Deloitte India.

Currently, the e-filing portal and the CPC work separately. While e-filing is being managed by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), the CPC is run by Infosys.

In the bids invited by the government, Infosys emerged as the lowest bidder and it would develop the ITR-CPC 2.0 project in 18 months from now, Goyal said.

Under the new system, Infosys will handle end-to-end solution — from e-filing to return assessment to refund processing. The CBDT and Infosys would work in a revenue-sharing model, sources in the know said.

Goyal said ramping up scrutiny was not the mandate of the new portal. Currently, about 0.3 per cent of the I-T returns are scrutinised, he said. The system intends to resolve taxpayer grievances as well as tax demands from the CBDT faster and equitably, he said.

“The decision will ensure horizontal equity by processing returns filed by all categories of taxpayers across the country in a consistent, uniform, rule driven, identity blind manner. This will assure fairness in tax treatment to every taxpayer irrespective of their status,” a government release said.

But even under the new ecosystem, only those applications which are clean would have the chance of getting processed in a day, sources said.

About 23 crore I-T returns have been processed, along with Rs 2.62 trillion worth of refunds, till September 2018 cumulatively. Of this, refunds worth Rs 1.83 trillion have been processed in 2018-19, said Goyal.

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Lenders considering resolution plan for Jet Airways: SBI

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Mumbai: State Bank of India (SBI) on Thursday said lenders are considering a resolution plan for Jet Airways to ensure long-term viability of the debt-laden company.

The SBI statement comes a day after the crisis-hit airline said discussions were “progressing well” with stakeholders on a comprehensive resolution plan that also contemplates equity infusion and consequent changes in its board of directors.

There are rising concerns over financial health of Jet Airways, whose shares have also taken a beating at stock exchanges.

 

“We would like to state that lenders are considering a restructuring plan under the RBI framework for resolution of stressed assets that would ensure a long-term viability of the company,” SBI said in a statement.

It said the restructuring plan for the cash-strapped airline would need approval from boards of lenders.

“Any such plan would be subject to approval of boards of the lenders and subject to adherence and clearance, if required, from the RBI and/or Sebi (takeover code, ICDR regulations.) and Ministry of Civil Aviation and in compliance with all regulatory prescriptions,” the statement said.

Shares of the airline are trading 4.24 per cent lower at Rs 259.50 apiece on BSE.

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NGT slams Volkswagen for not depositing Rs 100 crore as per its 2018 order

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New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) slammed German auto major Volkswagen for not depositing Rs 100 crore in accordance with its November 16, 2018 order and directed it to submit the amount within 24 hours.

A bench headed by NGT chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel took strong exception to the non-compliance of its order by the automobile giant and asked it to give an undertaking that it will submit the amount by 5 PM Friday.

“Why have you not complied with our order when there is no stay. We will not give you any further time,” the bench, also comprising Justice S P Wangdi, said while asking Volkswagen to submit an affidavit of compliance after deposit.

 

The tribunal deferred the matter for hearing after it was informed that the Supreme Court is also seized of the issue.

On November 16 last year, the tribunal had said that the use of ”cheat device” by Volkswagen in diesel cars in India leads to inference of environmental damage and had asked the German auto major to deposit an interim amount of Rs 100 crore with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

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