Selection of bank chiefs under govt scrutiny, says Jaitley

Selection of bank chiefs under govt scrutiny, says Jaitley

 Close on the heels of Syndicate Bank Chairman’s arrest for alleged graft, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the government will deal with PSU lenders sternly and is scrutinising recent appointments of bank heads.

“Time has come to be strict with PSU banks. I have urged the Cabinet Secretary and the RBI Governor to examine recent appointments in public sector banks,” he told reporters here.

The CBI had recently written to the Finance Ministry alleging “irregularities” in appointments of chiefs of PSU banks, following which Jaitley called for a closer scrutiny of recent appointments.

Syndicate Bank Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) S K Jain was arrested earlier this month for allegedly receiving a bribe of Rs 50 lakh to enhance credit limits of a company.

A panel headed by RBI Governor selects PSU bank chiefs. Applications are processed by the Cabinet Secretary and placed before the Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) for its final approval.

State-run banks in which CMDs were appointed recently include Canara Bank, Corporation Bank, Bank of India, IDBI Bank, Allahabad Bank and Central Bank of India. 

Focus on GST

Arun Jaitley said that with the Parliament session over now, his ministry will focus on the rollout of Goods and Services Tax (GST), the new indirect taxes regime that has been in the works for long.

As the Parliament session is over, the government will now start work on GST and soon take a decision on the CST compensation issue, Jaitley said. The GST will subsume indirect taxes like excise duty and service tax at the central level and VAT on the states front, besides local levies.  The Constitutional Amendment Bill, prepared by the previous UPA government in 2011 to pave way for rolling out GST, is yet to see the light of the day. The GST rollout has missed several deadlines on account of differences over contentious issue of CST compensation and  GST structure between the states and the Centre.

Indirect tax regime Committing to expeditious roll out of GST, Jaitley had in Budget speech said that a solution to the issues relating to the comprehensive indirect tax regime may be finalised in the current year itself.

Replying to a question on the fate of the Insurance Bill, Jaitley expressed the hope that it will get through sooner or later. The government today referred the controversial Bill to the Select Committee of Rajya Sabha.

The Bill, which proposes to hike FDI limit in insurance sector to 49 per cent, was caught in logjam with the Congress- led opposition insisting that certain new provisions incorporated in the bill require a fresh look and expert consideration. This Parliament session has been successful, Jaitley said.

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