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NEW DELHI : The government has recovered over 13,109 crore by selling assets of defaulters such as Nirav Modi, Vijay Mallya, and Mehul Choksi as of July this year, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said Monday.

She added that another 792 crore was recovered from Vijay Mallya and others, as of July. She was responding to a discussion on the second supplementary demand for grants.

“A total of 13,109.17 crore has been recovered from the asset sales of Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi, and Mehul Choksi as of July 2021 as per the information of the Enforcement Directorate (ED)," Sitharaman said in the Lok Sabha, amid uproar by members.

The latest recovery was 792 crore from the sale of assets belonging to Vijay Mallya and others on 16 July, 2021, she said, adding that public sector banks together have effected a recovery of 5.49 trillion over the last seven financial years. “So, these people who are defaulters who fled the country, we have got their monies back and put into the public sector banks and therefore, the banks are safer today and depositors’ money is safer," she said during the discussion.

The Lok Sabha approved the second supplementary demand for grants totalling 3.73 trillion for FY22 on Monday, which includes net cash outgo of 2.99 trillion.

The additional spending has been outlined for infusion of 62,000 crore into Air India, additional fertilizer subsidy of 58,430 crore due to firming up of global prices, payment of pending export incentives and remissions including RoSCTL of 53,123 crore and rural development ministry for transfer to the National Rural Employment Guarantee Fund of 22,039 crore.

“We have to ensure that the farmers don’t suffer because of it (rise in global prices). And therefore, increase in the subsidy for fertilizer has been provided, which itself is accounting for 58,431 crore," she said.

Responding to various issues including price rise raised by the Opposition during the debate, she said the government is taking measures to cool down prices of edible oil and other essential commodities.

“We are taking measures through the EGoM (Empowered Group of Ministers) for taking care of essential goods. We will attend to the problem of edible oil price and also some of the essential edible items," she said.

On the states’ financial position, Sitharaman said the Centre had transferred 86.4% of what was provided in the full year 2019-20, in the first eight months of the fiscal.

From the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF), “funds are being provided and providing an extra 15,000 crore for emergency covid-19 response. The financial position of the states is also reflected in the fact that the overall cash balance of states as on 30 November 2021 was 3.08 lakh crore approximately, fairly comfortable positions", she said.

She further said the states have substantial cash balance with them and out of 28 states, only two have negative cash balance.

Sitharaman also said the government has so far paid around 93,685 crore since 2014 for oil bonds. The government will have to pay till 2026 when oil bonds mature, she said.

Quoting former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, she said, “I would like the nation to remember that issuing bonds and loading deficits on oil companies is not a permanent solution to this problem. We are only passing our burden to our children who will have to repay this debt."

Over 5,000 crore and over 4,000 crore has been earmarked for additional spending by the ministries of defence and home, respectively.

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