Mumbai: Union minister Piyush Goyal Friday batted for continued government ownership in banks and other key industrial areas saying privatisation is not the panacea for all the ills facing the economy as the private sector is plagued with more scandals than their state-run peers.

Chairing a panel discussion at an India Today event here this evening, he said, “there are more scandals in private banks today than we have in public sector banks. There are more scandals coming out of private sector companies and private sector-run non-banking finance companiess and housing finance companies.

“Our government is trying to clean up the mess. So I don’t think privatisation is the panacea for all the problems we face,” he said.

Lauding the role that public sector banks have played in overall economic and social development, the minister said they are the reason behind the development we see today.

“They are the reason behind the national infrastructure we have across the country be it power plants or others. No private banks has given money to young entrepreneurs to start businesses but government banks that stood by them,” Goyal said.

Taking a dig at the “cozy banking” that private sector lenders are comfortable with, he said, “public sector banks have done huge work for the country, while their private sector counterparts are looking at cozy lending to very, very safe borrowers and not to the poor farmers.

“We must and continue to support the public sector and it’s time to recognise their role in nation building. But this does not mean that we should not privatise or disinvestI support disinvestment as well, Goyal concluded.

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