Punjab foodgrain scam: RBI asks SBI to make provisions for possible losses

State Bank of India Chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya on Monday said the RBI has asked the top lender to make provisions for possible losses on account of the unfolding foodgrain scam in Punjab.

“Yes,” Bhattacharya told reporters when asked whether the regulator has asked the government-run bank to make provisions in the case. However, she did not elaborate.

Asked about the banks’ total exposure to the Punjab government, she said “I don’t have the exact numbers. We need to get those.”

Earlier in the day, Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha said the government is working to resolve the issue.

“We are working with the regulators as well as the banks and various other government agencies to ensure the matter with respect to the food stocks in Punjab is satisfactorily resolved,” Sinha told reporters.

According to reports, foodgrain procured by the Punjab government worth Rs 20,000 crore is missing from the state godowns.

However, the Punjab government denies the reports and has said all stocks procured over the years have been duly accounted for.

Some 30-odd banks, led by SBI, had extended loans of Rs 12,000 crore to the state for its foodgrain procurement programme.