Borrowers are worried as micro-financing firms, private banks and some primary co-operative societies have stepped up pressure for recovery of loans, going against the spirit of Reserve Bank of India’s moratorium relief. With the lockdown norms relaxed, their agents have entered the villages knocking at the doors of the borrowers asking them to pay the weekly instalment. A few have sent SMS messages asking them to pay the instalment and have even threatened that they may not be able to further raise loans in future as they may end up as defaulters.
Co-operation Minister S T Somashekar has warned the finance firms and banks that the government will not hesitate to supersede them if they demanded repayment. Although the farming community, women and street vendors were relieved when the regulator announced three months relaxation for repayment of loans following the imposition of lockdown, the members of self-help groups and others are under tremendous pressure to pay the dues when they are yet to come out of lockdown and start working.
Jyothi, a farm labourer, said she has paid Rs 1,200 weekly instalment for a loan of Rs 1 lakh. She had to borrow from family members to pay the instalment as the agent of a micro-financing institution insisted.
Kumaraswamy, a borrower, said that a private bank which has given him housing loan has demanded that he pay the instalment and also warned of charging interest if he further delays the payment.
Cooperative societies too are demanding their pound of flesh. The Primary Agriculture Producers Co-operative Society in Lalithalapura has served notice to Mahadevaiah of Kappasoge village to repay Rs 29,000 loan before May 10, failing which they will charge interest and also declare him a defaulter.
‘Agents knocking on our doors’
Mahadevaiah had taken crop loan with zero per cent interest and has no money to repay the loan in one stroke. “How can we mobilise money when there is no income,” he asked. Private micro-financing institutions operating in rural areas are prevailing on the members to repay the loan. Rangamma who has borrowed Rs 50,000 with the condition to pay Rs 1,000 a week is anxious as she has not earned even Rs 500 during the lockdown period.