"If the bank boards cannot perform their duty, blame should stop with the bank boards and not with the government," he said at a panel discussion at an event to commemorate NSE's 20th anniversary.
He acknowledged that the government has a nominee director in every public sector bank, but pointed out the roles of the independent directors, full-time directors, chairmen and managing directors and senior bank management.
"NPAs are high because the recovery measures are soft. Bankers are being tardy and to some extent soft on recovery. We have failing companies and prosperous promoters," he said.
Chidambaram also said it is not fair to compare NPAs in the current context with the levels of the past, as in 2004, when the numbers were lower.