The amount owed by wilful defaulters to Indian banks has risen more than 10-fold over the past decade from Rs 23,000 crore on March 31, 2012 to Rs 2.4 lakh crore on May 31 this year.
Data from TransUnion Cibil, a credit-information company, shows that the defaults had increased significantly during the lockdown to touch Rs 2.6 lakh crore in March 2021, but have since come down a little.
As of May 31, there were more than 12,000 such defaults.
The amount of Rs 2.4 lakh crore is 2.7 times the allocation of Rs 86,200 crore to the health ministry and nearly twice as much as the Rs 1.4 lakh crore allocated to the rural development ministry that funds the rural jobs scheme under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).
The analysis of the amounts in these 12,000 accounts shows that loans below Rs 1 crore — like those taken by home buyers — account for just over 1% of the total defaults.
So, here’s how you could think about it. If you earned enough to be able to save Rs 10 lakh a year, it would take 1,000 years to save this amount. If parked in a Swiss long-term bond (10 years or more), this money would yield an annual interest of Rs 1.15 crore or Rs 9.6 lakh a month. It can buy 200 apartments worth Rs 50 lakh each or more than 190kg of gold, both of which can be passed on for generations.
Have money, won’t pay
According to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), wilful defaulters are those who default on loans despite having the capacity to repay. Units that divert the funds for purposes other than the specific purpose of the loan also come under this category.