Reacting sharply to the government's move to ask banks to consider setting aside a portion of their loan disbursement for the minorities, the BJP on Wednesday charged that the "vote bank politics" of the ruling Congress was now "playing havoc" on the country's banking system.
"It seems that the Prime Minister's refrain of first claim of Muslims on India's development resources is being systematically implemented in phases by communalising sector after sector," BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar stated.
He pointed out that loans were granted by banks on the basis of merit of the proposal, irrespective of caste, class or religious considerations. The merit of the proposal included various factors like viability and payback period, collateral security offered and creditworthiness of the borrower.
The banking division under the Ministry of Finance has reportedly asked the Indian Banks' Association (IBA) to examine the proposal to set aside 15 per cent of priority sector lending in all categories for minority communities.
Recalling that the priority sector concept was evolved after nationalisation of banks to accommodate small borrowers like farmers, rural artisans and self-employed people, Javadekar said nowhere was it ever suggested that unviable projects should be financed.
"It was basically an effort to reach out to the needy and capable small borrowers. In this backdrop, the directive of Finance Ministry is in contravention of prudent banking norms. Religion was never a consideration for favour or discrimination in the banking sector. The government is communalising a hitherto secular financial system," the BJP leader stated.