Banking facility in seven local languages has ensured wide outreach, Thakur saidNon-performing assets of banks declined to Rs 5.70 lakh crore in December 2020 and the recovered amount stood at Rs 2.74 lakh crore following a slew of measures taken by the government, Union Minister Anurag Singh Thakur told Rajya Sabha on Tuesday. During Question Hour, the Minister of State for Finance also said the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) has helped in the recovery of NPA (Non-Performing Assets). “There has been a reduction in gross NPAs. The NPAs – which stood at Rs 8.96 lakh crore in 2018 – have reduced to Rs 5.70 lakh crore in December 2020. Recovery of Rs 2.74 lakh crore was also made,” Thakur said while replying to a supplementary question in the Upper House.According to him, the occurrence of frauds, which resulted in high NPAs, has also witnessed a sharp decline as a result of steps taken by the government. The incidents of frauds reduced to 0.23 per cent from 1.01 per cent in 2013-14, the minister added. Further, Thakur said IBC brought by the government has resulted in major reforms and improving the debtor-creditor relation and better recovery rate.Under the present regime, banking has vastly improved, from phone banking to digital banking, which has resulted in transparency and accountability, he noted. In reply to a supplementary question, Thakur said 7 out of 12 public sector banks have taken up on priority efforts to introduce digital banking and added that this will result in competition with the private sector banks and benefit consumers with better products. The minister praised initiatives like the SBI Yono service.UPI Bhim was being praised by big companies like Google and Facebook, he added. In reply to another supplementary by Anil Desai (Shiv Sena) who wanted to know whether the platform for providing and processing loans in 59-minutes has miserably failed, Thakur said that the member came from the economic capital of the country which resulted in an uproar. Deputy Chairman Harivansh said nothing will go on record except the answer. Thakur said banks have already sanctioned Rs 60,000 crore on the 59-minutes platform.Further, the minister said that what the government inherited in 2014 was a banking system in shambles but now there have been many reforms. Banking facility in seven local languages has ensured wide outreach, Thakur said, adding “this will cater to smart lending to aspiring India – rural or urban”.