Kerala Financial institution: Opposition alleges favouritism

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The opposition alleged nepotism and favouritism after () was chosen for implementing core banking solutions (CBS) for the proposed , a project that is estimated at Rs 160 crore. They then walked out of the assembly on Monday.
Though cooperation minister Kadakampally failed to give a proper reply to the opposition’s query whether the selection was done after a tendering process and inviting EoIs (expression of interest), chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, later clarified that IFTAS was a subsidiary of Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT) that functions under RBI.

IUML MLA P Ubaidulla voiced his doubt against the selection of IFTAS during the discussions on demand for grants in the cooperative sector. VD , joined him and asked the minister about the procedures behind the selection. When Surendran failed to give a convincing reply, opposition leader claimed that IFTAS was a private company with one Prashanth Nambair at its helm and that the Rs 160-crore project was awarded to the firm without a competitive tendering process.

After the opposition walked out, the chief minister read out a ‘circular issued by the RBI to the CEOs of primary urban cooperative banks (UCBs) on April 13, 2016’.

“A scheme for providing financial assistance to UCBs for implementation of CBS has been formulated in consultation with IDRBT, and would be implemented by IDBRT/IFTAS, a subsidiary of IDRBT. The initial set up cost of Rs 4 lakh will be paid by RBI to IFTAS. Thereafter, the recurring cost of Rs 15,000 per branch per month will be borne by UCBs,” he read out from the circular.

He said that opposition was trying to create a smokescreen by saying that IFTAS is a private company owned by one Nambiar. Later, opposition leaders told the media that PSUs and even government agencies were trying to broker projects to private companies.

“RBI does not have the power to direct governments on implementing agencies. Even if IFTAS is an RBI subsidiary, the government has not carried out normal procedures,” said Satheesan.

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