RBI statistics show that stressed assets in Indian banking have reached the alarming level of 16% of the total assets. MSMEs, however, suffering a cascading effect of their elder brothers in corporates as vendors, are at the fringe, with around 8%. The extent of ‘wilful default’ as defined by RBI and the contribution of ‘financial illiteracy’ of MSMEs cannot be established by data. Hidden or undisclosed reasons for NPAs in banks’ books have been narrated in a few research studies that include CII, FICCI, ASSOCHAM, CAB, etc, but they had no institutional solutions.
Karimnagar district in Telangana has thrown up a few cases. An entrepreneur manufacturing unbranded detergent who received all accolades from the government found himself on the decks due to his market restricted only to the state government during 2008-14. Another from the same place, engaged in manufacturing and innovative recycling of batteries for automobiles with market restricted to the state public transport undertaking that actually saved no less than Rs 35 lakh per month to the entity, became an NPA and sold off his property to settle debt under the OTS. A third entrepreneur, engaged in manufacturing paints at Jeedimetla IE in Hyderabad, similarly suffered in strategically positioning himself in the market.