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Debt Recovery Tribunal to be computerised: Arun Jaitley

Government is looking at computerisation of the Debt Recovery Tribunal and also plans to reduce the number of oral hearing to two.

ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Sep 29, 2015, 02.21 AM IST|Original: Sep 28, 2015, 07.25 PM IST
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MUMBAI: Indian banks may soon be able to settle their grievances with debt recovery tribunals at a faster pace as proceedings go online. The finance ministry is planning to computerise the entire operations of the DRTs and do away with unnecessary procedures.

“I have suggested to the department of financial services, since the administration of DRT is not under any judicial authority but the department looks after it, to consider the digitising of the entire procedure on a high priority basis,” finance minister Arun Jaitley said at the industry lobby Indian Banks’ Association’s annual general meeting in Mumbai on Monday. The minister said that DRT is one forum where the tribunal and appellate authority can function exclusively with all the filings and proceedings shifting online.

“There will be provisions for only two hearings — interim and final. All other procedures will be eliminated,” Jaitley said. He was responding to an industry wishlist expressed by Chanda Kochhar, managing director and chief executive of ICICI Bank, in which she asked for speedy judicial redressal of stressed assets. Indian banks have been cautious about lending to businesses owing to the fear of loans turning bad and lack of a platform for speedy settling of disputes. Annual growth in bank credit is just about 10% at present, compared to over 15% growth annually on an average. The gross non-performing loans are estimated at Rs3.1 lakh crore as of March 31, which is over 4% of the advances.

DRTs were created to help financial institutions recover dues speedily without being subjected to the lengthy procedures of usual civil courts. The government is also working on expediting arbitration cases. “The arbitration law, which is now pending in Parliament, has provisions which facilitate cheaper and faster arbitration. A chapter on fast-track settlement of disputes is introduced,” Jaitley said.

The minister also said that the finance ministry is moving closer towards setting up a banking bureau. “Efforts are on to give a final shape to the banking bureau so that all other hiring decisions can also be professionalised. It has already appointed a panel headed by former law commission head Justice AP Shah to find options of hiring best quality talent,” he said.

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