It was disturbing to read the report, “Bankers pitch for dilution of govt. ownership” (Business, June 11). No one can deny or disagree that the credit for bank nationalisation, which was for the public good, goes to Indira Gandhi. If the banking sector has relevance in India today it is because of this step, which resulted in branches being opened in every nook and corner, and from which millions in the small sector were able to benefit. Public sector banks have played a stellar role in India’s development and ensured that many people do not go hungry. The portfolio of non-performing assets is the result of sluggish follow-up on borrowers. The burgeoning size of non-performing assets is because of some big and influential borrowers. Above all, the provision for NPAs appears to be an “estimate” and may not reflect the real quantum of outstandings. With the experience gained in dealing with borrowers, it should be easier to cut NPAs gradually, following it up with stringent action on defaulters. The government should not do anything aimed at handing over the public banks to private hands. It will be a huge mistake.
G.M.K. Ranga Rao,