The issue arose when political and social activist Saket Gokhale tweeted a reply that he had received from the RBI as a response to a Right to Information (RTI) query. He had applied under the RTI act, asking the RBI to provide him with a list of top 50 wilful defaulters in the Indian banking system. The RBI responded with a list of 50 wilful defaulters, accompanied by a ‘technical write-offs’ of these entities and their outstanding amounts, with the quantum of the list exceeding Rs. 68,000 crores.
The stories went viral due to the catchy headline, resulting in an outrage on Twitter. Several social media users questioned the RBI and also took potshots at the government.
The RBI has clarified that the data being shared in the RTI is not from the RBI, but rather it is from the banks, and the RBI takes no responsibility of its accuracy.
However, this is not the first time that the RBI has made such a clarification. In 2016, the Indian Express did an RTI-based story about bank write-offs, which was responded to by the RBI, the Ministry of Finance and the State Bank of India. In their response, the RBI again laid out the definition of a technical write off below.