Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur (File photo)
Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur (File photo)

LS passes bill to curb illicit deposits, Thakur says priority to depositors in return of money

ANI | Updated: Jul 24, 2019 21:02 IST

New Delhi, July 24 (ANI): Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed a bill that will help tackle the menace of illicit deposit schemes in the country with Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur stating that the first claim to recovered money will be of depositors and their data will not be shared.
Replying to a debate on the Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2019, Thakur said that of the 978 unauthorised deposit schemes unearthed in the country, 326 were in West Bengal.
"I hope no state will stand with those trying to protect people involved in Ponzi schemes," he said.
The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha earlier this year but lapsed with the dissolution of 16th Lok Sabha as it could not be taken up in the Rajya Sabha.
Thakur said the government had brought an ordinance so that the interests of depositors were protected.
The bill, which will replace the ordinance, was passed by a voice vote.
Thakur said all members had demanded steps to protect hard-earned money of the poor who become victims of illicit deposit schemes.
He said the government had come up with a comprehensive bill and the power to frame rules was with the states.
The minister said that Modi government had taken steps for financial inclusion of poor through jan dhan accounts and 36 such accounts now have a deposit of over Rs one lakh crore.
He said members of self-help groups will be eligible for an overdraft of Rs 5,000 and one member will be eligible for a higher loan.
He said properties of those involved in illicit schemes can be attached and designated courts will deal with the cases.
Thakur said there will be a designated authority for an online database of deposit takers.
"Data of depositors will not be shared," he said.
Responding to points raised by members, he said that loans taken from relatives and friends will not fall in the ambit of the law.
"The priority for return of money is for the common depositor," he said.
Thakur complimented Congress member Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, saying he won the election because of his "fight (against Trinamool Congress)".
He said the person who will fight the battle for poor get rewarded and "people who did not, you have seen that".
Thakur said Modi government had taken tough action in cases of illicit deposits.
Opposition members withdrew their amendments to the bill and lauded Thakur for his speech on the first bill he piloted. Speaker Om Birla also complimented him.
RSP member N. K. Premachandran said that it was good to see a cabinet minister giving an appropriate opportunity to the minister of state.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was in the House during reply by Thakur.
The bill seeks to check regulatory gaps and lack of strict administrative measures that have been exploited to dupe poor and gullible people of their hard-earned savings. (ANI)