New Delhi - Public money is "hundred per cent safe" in state-run banks,Interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said on Tuesday, allaying apprehensions in the wake of recent major scams unearthed in public sector banks (PSBs).
Briefing reporters here following a meeting with PSB heads, Goyal, who holds temporary charge of the Finance Ministry, said that the government could consider giving additional powers to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to check misdemeanours in state-owned banks.
"Public money is extremely safe and secure in PSU banks. The government stands behind them 100%," he said in response to a query.
Referring to a recent statement by RBI Governor Urjit Patel, in the wake of the Rs 13,000 crore fraud on Punjab National Bank by accused diamantaire Nirav Modi, that the central bank lacked powers to effectively regulate the PSBs, Goyal said: "Powers are available with the RBI.
"Conversations take place between the government and the RBI, and if additional powers are needed, the government is open to the idea."
The Minister, instead, said he is unsure how safe public money is in the hands of private companies which have huge income tax dues.
"Frauds are committed by the private sector, by companies which use the PSBs as a medium to commit frauds. The few frauds come to light have all been committed by private companies."
Goyal also said that it is for this reason that the government will have to become "stricter" in monitoring the private sector.