GOVERNMENT TO INTRODUCE E-GOVERNANCE IN DEBT RECOVERY TRIBUNALS
FOR STATE-RUN BANKS



NEW DELHI: The government is finalising the contours of an ambitious project to introduce egovernance in debt recovery tribunals, which could help staterun banks recover a sizeable part of the Rs 3.7-lakh crore worth of bad loans.

The 'e-DRT project' will allow banks and financial institutions to efficiently manage case records, track cases online and access accurate reports. The proposed plan also involves segregating wilful defaulters and fast-tracking cases with the aim to expedite recovery of public money."We have identified some DRTs with high case volumes," a finance ministry official said. "The new system will help financial institutions generate reports and help recovery officers enforce proceedings and orders." The official said the system will prevent borrowers from stalling the recovery process by approaching the appellate tribunal as it will define a time frame within which the tribunal will have to decide the appeal.

A DRT is required to adjudicate on a case within 180 days, but borrowers often approach appellate tribunals and secure injunctions. According to finance ministry data, there were around 59,000 cases pending before various DRTs at the end of 2014, involving assets worth Rs 3.7 lakh crore. The government, which is looking to infuse additional capital in state-run banks, has been pushing the DRTs to speed up the recovery process.
"The e-DRT project will be implemented across all tribunals this year," another finance ministry official, said. The government, which is in the process of establishing six new DRTs, will push for early resolution of cases where borrowers have been declared willful defaulters.

As on March 2015, there were 7,035 cases of wilful default worth Rs 58,000 crore. According to finance ministry data, DRTs on an average dispose of 11,000 cases annually worth Rs. 21,000 crore. Experts opine that the government should further tighten the process and the borrowers should be asked to pay 50% deposit even in cases where stay orders have been issued.