Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said banks have recovered more than Rs 5 lakh crore bad loans in the last couple of years. Stressing on the need to ‘unlock the productive potential of people of India’, Modi urged banks to focus on fintech and rural entrepreneurship.

“Out of crores of debt stuck during the previous regime, banks have recovered more than Rs 5 lakh crore. Banks getting their money back is a reflection that the government is working with transparency and commitment,” Modi said while addressing a conference on Creating Synergies for Seamless Credit organised by the Ministry of Finance.

“The banking sector is in a better state today. Financial health of banks has improved. We have addressed issues that dogged the banking sector before 2014. We have addressed non-performing assets, recapitalised banks, empowered debt recovery tribunals and brought the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code. Amid the pandemic, we have also set up a dedicated stressed asset management vertical,” he said.

Modi also urged banks to support start-ups and rural areas and step up fintech initiatives. “This is an age to support ideas, start-ups. Banks do not have dearth of resources and data. Government will also keep doing reforms that you need. You need to align with national aspirations,” he said.

“In one particular area, if we delay, we will fall behind – that is fintech. People have the capability to adapt to changes. An environment has been created towards fintechs. We have the world’s strongest UPI platform. We need to think beyond profit and losses. Fintech is a huge facilitator,” he said.

Modi said government efforts for regularisation of rural property title holding offers huge potential to banks. “Drone mapping of rural properties and giving property papers to owners in rural areas is going on. Banks must come forward to help rural areas. With regularisation of documents, banks now can dole out loans in rural areas with property as collateral,” he added.

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