Pranab to meet bank chiefs today, discuss NPAs

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee will meet the heads of public sector banks today to discuss the current situation in the banking sector, including the problem of non-performing assets (NPAs).

The finance minister will hold an annual review of performance of the PSU banks and focus closely on infrastructure and small and medium enterprise (SME) sector spending.  Moreover, there could also be a discussion on credit the growth target of 20 per cent and raising agriculture lending targets by 15 per cent, according to Bloomberg UTV.

Citing sources, the report said a corporate debt restructuring (CDR) mechanism will be closely discussed during this meeting. It said the finance minister will also review the country's current liquidity situation.

With economic growth down to a nine-year low of 6.5 per cent in 2011-2012 and slated to slip further this year, Mukherjee on Monday pinned hopes on declining global crude oil prices and a normal monsoon to help a turnaround during the current fiscal.

Addressing the annual conference of the income tax department in Delhi, Mukherjee said, ''We are taking all necessary steps to ensure that we come back to the path of the targeted GDP [gross domestic product] growth. Of course, it will take some time ... but from this year we expect to make a turnaround.''