Financial Services Dept could become IT court: Jaitley

The department of financial services is working to computerise all procedures of the debt recovery tribunals (DRTs) on a priority basis, finance minister Arun Jaitley said on Monday.

''The DRT and the appellate authority can afford to run exclusively and not optionally as IT courts of India. The filing of pleadings, the filing of documents and replies, would all be done on the Internet, with a provision for only two oral hearings in a defined period of time,'' Jaitley said.

The first hearing will be an interim hearing, while the second one will be final, Jaitley told bankers on the occasion of the 68th annual general meeting of the Indian Banks' Assocation, a lobby group.

At end-December, 59,645 cases involving Rs3.74 trillion of bank loans were pending before DRTs, according to official data, up from 47,933 cases involving Rs1.78 trillion of loans at the end of 2013.

While public-sector lenders would continue to be involved in government's development agenda, the administration of these banks will be guided purely on banking considerations and not for any other collateral consideration, Jaitley said.

''We are willing to look at all other changes, including bringing down government equity to 52 per cent and therefore giving additional financial strength to the banking institutions,'' Jaitley said.

On recapitalisation plans for state-owned banks, Jaitley said a detailed plan had been announced where Rs70,000 crore worth of capital would be infused in these lenders over the next four years. ''Hopefully this would induct a lot of capital strength into the banks and improve their capacity,'' he said.

A high-level committee headed by former judge A P Shah has been constituted to find ways to hire fresh talent in public-sector banks straight from campuses, Jaitley said. The committee would also suggest solutions for these issues, allowing these banks to have a chance at attracting personnel through campus placements.

The finance ministry will also put out a final draft of the bankruptcy law by the month end or early next month, he said. ''I hope it will be in front of the Parliament very soon and hope it will be cleared since it is part of the budget announcement,'' Jaitley said.