Interim finance Minister Piyush Goyal has called the heads of all public sector banks for a meeting on Monday when he is expected to take stock of banking sector's performance and discuss ways to improve their financial health.
According to sources, the meeting is part of a pre-budget exercise and was supposed to take place last week but got delayed after Arun Jaitley, who was handling the Finance portfolio, suddenly left for the US for medical treatment.
Goyal, who was given charge of the Finance and Corporate Affairs ministries on Wednesday till the period of Jaitley's "indisposition", would take the stock-taking meeting which would also be attended by Financial Services Secretary Rajeev Kumar.
Sources said the full-day meeting would be led by Kumar for the most part, with the Finance Minister joining towards the evening to take a broader view of the banking sector and their action plan for near future.
According to a PTI report, the meeting will review how various schemes of the government is being implemented and the progress they have achieved. Credit flow to MSMEs, agriculture and retail sectors will also be reportedly reviewed.
The Minister is expected to discuss ways to improve financial health of state-owned banks, their non-performing assets (NPA) position and improving lending to priority sectors including micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and agriculture, sources said.
Bad loans in public sector banks have declined by over Rs 23,000 crore from being as high as Rs 9.62 lakh crore in March 2018 due to various initiatives taken by the government, the PTI report adds.
The meeting assumes significance as it comes just four days before Goyal presents the interim Budget on February 1 in the absence of Jaitley.
Jaitley (66) had a kidney transplant in May last year. Even that time Goyal was made in charge of the Finance and Corporate Affairs ministries.