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Banks did not implement demonetisation properly: Bihar CM Nitish Kumar

Nitish Kumar, the JD(U) national president, had come out in support of the demonetisation measure, when he was in the Grand Alliance comprising the RJD and the Congress.

india Updated: May 27, 2018 19:33 IST
Anil Kumar
Anil Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
Nitish Kumar,Demonetisation,PNB fraud
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar speaks at a function in Delhi.(PTI FILE)

Having supported demonetisation while in Opposition in 2016, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday blamed banks for failing to check the flow of banned high denomination notes back into the system.

Speaking at the 64th state-level bankers committee (SLBC) meeting, Kumar said the biggest responsibility for the success of the demonetisation (DeMo) drive rested with the bankers, but everyone knows how the rich and powerful managed to plough back a major portion of their unaccounted cash and get it ‘accommodated’ through the banking system.

The question raised by the Bihar chief minister — on a day when the NDA government was celebrating their fourth year in power — came as a surprise for many after Kumar had hailed the November 2016 move as bold.

“If coupled with an attack on benami property, the move will succeed in tackling the problem of black money,” he had said then.

Kumar said the role of banks in implementing the programme, both for social reforms and development, was increasing with every passing day.

“This highlights the need for redefining the role of banks and initiation of steps for strengthening the banking system to punish wrongdoers, who, unlike their counterparts in government, often escape immediate action,” Kumar said, apparently raising a finger at the ‘outcome’ of DeMo move.

“How else can one explain the procedural delays and difficulty of small borrowers in getting small loans, while ‘big’ people have easy access to big ticket loans? They not only default in paying back and then manage to go scot free to foreign destinations, leaving behind what we hear as banking scams,” he asked.

Senior BJP leader and deputy chief minister in Nitish cabinet Sushil Kumar Modi, who was also present during the meeting, tried to downplay the issue later during his interaction with media persons, saying, “the chief minister has raised a question on the working of banks and their role in accepting banned notes”.

“Nitish Kumar has been a supporter of demonetisation and he was trying to point out the loopholes and lack of transparency and absence of micro level monitoring system in the banking sector that allows irregularity to take place at the ground level without the top management having a whiff of it,” he said.

First Published: May 27, 2018 10:49 IST