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Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that legitimate decisions of banks are backed by governmentFinance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told the Parliament on Tuesday that the government has taken a series of steps to protect bonafide commercial decisions of banks, which will allay fears of prosecution of senior officials who are responsible for taking them.Replying to a question in Rajya Sabha, Ms Sitharaman said that amendments to Prevention of Corruption Act (PC Act), 1988, requiring prior permission before initiating investigation against a public servant, setting up of an Advisory Board for Banking and Financial Frauds (ABBFF) for first level of examination of suspected frauds of banks and financial institutions in excess of Rs 50 crore, and finalisation of Consolidated Staff Accountability Framework are among some of the measures which the government has taken to boost confidence of bankers to enable them to take crucial decisions.The minister further informed that the government after consultations with the Central Vigilance Commission, has firmed up a consolidated “Staff Accountability Framework” for non-performing assets (NPAs) accounts up to Rs 50 crore, other than fraud cases.”The Staff Accountability Framework is aimed at protecting bona fide decisions taken by the bank officers/workmen while ensuring accountability for wrongdoing or inaction. It is meant to identify and punish only those bank officers and staff who are prima facie responsible for the lapses of non-compliance with laid down systems and procedures or misconduct and non-adherence to the ”due-diligence” norms,” she said.This framework will come into force for accounts classified as NPAs with effect from April 1, 2022.

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