On 17th April, the Central Government handed over a list of the biggest loan defaulters to the Supreme Court. That list includes the names of all big capitalist companies which owe more than Rs 500 crore each to banks. Both the Government of India and the Reserve Bank claim that the names of these top defaulters must be kept hidden from the public, allegedly to protect the “economic interest of the country”. The Supreme Court has agreed to this.
Replying to an order by the Supreme Court in January, the Union Finance Ministry submitted an affidavit, containing the list of corporate loan defaulters in a sealed envelope, meant for the eyes of the court only. The Finance Ministry disclosed that 2277 cases of loan defaults are pending in debt recovery tribunals for more than 10 years. The amount defaulted is put at over 5 lakh crore Rupees.
The Indian banking system is burdened with massive amounts of “non-performing assets” or bad loans. For the past few years, the crisis facing public sector banks in India due to mounting bad loans has become a topic of public debate and all-round concern. Against this background, the claim of the Central Government and the Reserve Bank that disclosing the names of capitalist loan defaulters would go against the country’s interest and the Supreme Court agreeing to this claim, reveals the class character of all these institutions.
It is very much in the interest of the working class and vast majority of the population to have the culprits identified and made to pay for the crisis of bad loans. There is a growing demand that stern action be taken against big capitalist loan defaulters, including forcible take-over of their assets. This is the reason that the big capitalists who have looted public funds do not want their names to be revealed to the public. Hence it is not in the interest of the big capitalists, to disclose this list to the public.
The protection of big capitalist defaulters in the name of defending the “economic interest of the country” shows that the Indian State is an organ of dictatorship of the capitalist class, headed by the monopoly houses. The various arms of this State, including the Central government, the RBI and the Supreme Court, do not represent the public interest. They represent the interest of the robbers of public funds, headed by the monopoly houses.
When the Prime Minister or some other minister or senior official talks about the “economic interest of the country”, we must understand that what they have in mind is the interest of the capitalist class headed by the monopoly houses.