Banking Sector Reforms

SC asks govt to implement ‘interest waiver’ scheme at the earliest


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: NPA

Mains level: Paper 3- Implications of Supreme Court order in the loan waiver.

The article examines the implications of the Supreme Court order dealing with the loan waiver and ban on the recognition of the bad loan.

Significance of common man as a depositor

  • India’s Rs 144 lakh crore in bank deposits make our Rs 110 lakh crore in bank loans possible.
  • The “common man” is more likely a depositor than a borrower; banks have 21 crore deposit accounts but only 2.7 crore loan accounts.

Issues with the court order

  • The Supreme Court has weighed in on the waiver scheme and recognition of the bad loan.
  • Waiving interest dues or banning bad loan recognition is economically ignorant because more than 20 per cent of Indians are depositors while less than 2 per cent are borrowers.
  • It has nothing to with economic justice defined as the greatest good for the greatest number.
  • It sabotages economic justice because fiscally funding banking diverts money from education, health and skilling expenditure.
  •  It’s commercially ignorant because any “annualised effective rate” is adjusted for interest payment frequency.
  • Resources are finite with total central government expenditure at Rs 29 lakh crore, scarce as COVID creates a Rs 3 lakh crore GST shortfall and fragile our fiscal deficit may exceed 12 per cent.
  • Also, it is hardly what our Constitution imagined as the role of courts.
  • Our Constitution writers made a distinction between fundamental rights and directive principles was not a lack of ambition but a measured assessment of state capacity, resources and sequencing.
  • The Constitution also envisaged distinct roles for the judiciary, executive and legislature to balance samaj (society), bazaar (markets) and sarkar (government).
  • Courts have become less mindful of these two distinctions.

Cost of credit and availability issue in India

  • One of the reasons for small size of Indian enterprises in the availability and cost of credit in India.
  • India’s credit-to-GDP ratio stands at dismal  50 per cent  — Bihar is 12 per cent and Arunachal is 1 per cent.
  • The MSME lending is stuck at Rs 20 lakh crore — needs to rise to 100 per cent.
  • Despite lower inflation and fiscal discipline, most borrowers don’t get globally competitive interest rates due to high bad loans and financial statement uncertainty.
  • The availability of credit will not rise and cost will not fall till our banking system has strong competition, consistent regulation, effective supervision and non-fiscal sustainability.

Consider the question “How the crisis in the banking sector is different from the crisis in other sectors? Also, examine the issues with the Supreme Court order on the loan waiver and recongnition of bad loan ban?” 


Institutional immunity needs balancing of independence and accountability; rising citizen concern about mandates and appointments should trigger court introspection.

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