Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addressed the Tamilnad Mercantile Bank’s (TMB) centenary celebrations in Tuticorin on Sunday, where she spoke on the development of public sector banks since 2014 and vaccination being the sole solution in boosting the economy.
The finance minister said that the non-performing assets (NPA) of the public sector banks were piling before 2014, posing a threat in the long run for the banking sector, which in turn would create issues for the entire economic sector.
Speaking on the rebound of the economy post the Covid-19 pandemic induced lockdowns, Sitharaman said that the vaccination drive will enable the businesses to revive their activity and the farmers will be able to continue their work as well.
“Vaccination programme has been going on smoothly in the country and so far 73 crore people have already received jabs free of charge. Today, through the vaccination programme, people were able to conduct business, traders were able to procure products to run businesses, (thereby) boosting the economy, or farmers were able to do farming. So, vaccination is the only medicine,” she said.
The minister then mentioned the government’s “viability gap funding” scheme, which funds the projects which are economically justified but not financially viable.
“Through the report by TMB, we are able to see that they take the schemes announced by the Ministry to the beneficiaries. It is necessary that not only public sector banks but private sector banks should follow suit,” she said.
The beneficiaries she mentioned here are the rural hospitals, which will expand their infrastructure with the help of the schemes introduced by the government.
Sitharaman also claimed that the Centre has helped the public sector banks by timely infusing additional capital into them, which helped them revive in crisis. She applauded the Tamilnad Mercantile Bank (TMB) for soaring even in times when the public sector banks are struggling.
She mentioned the advance portfolio of TMB of Rs 32,000 crore, in addition to its deposit base of Rs 41,000 crore. “If that is the rapidity with which you are using the money to make more