Pune: It has been over more than six months since the COVID-19 outbreak was announced in the country, which has not only resulted in health hazards but also an economic slowdown. Large and small businesses have come to a grinding halt. Citizens have suffered financial losses, many have lost their jobs and other sources of income during this unprecedented time.
In a time of financial crisis, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Central Government intervened and allowed millions of Indians to avail moratorium facilities on their loans and credit lines, thus providing a much-needed breathing space for the first few months of the lockdown.
Unfortunately, several citizens are finding it difficult to generate sufficient income to pay off their EMIs and loans. "Although I respect and understand the need of banks and financial institutions to recover their loans, and thus enforce provisions present in their contracts, I am distressed by the numerous complaints of aggressive tactics used by banks for their recovery," says MLA Siddharth Shirole. "Citizens from across Pune have approached me over the past few weeks, sharing stories of banks sending physically intimidating recovery agents to their homes, threatening their families and extorting money under threat of violence," he added.
MLA Shirole says, "In these unprecedented times, the kind where every business has suffered. Every industry has suffered a loss, and every citizen is facing a financial crisis. Together, we all working in harmony can and will get the society back to normalcy, but till such time we as representatives of the citizens should ensure that the lenders or the banks extend empathy towards their borrowers, and most certainly punish them for using physical intimidation and mental harassment as a tactic for financial recovery."
MLA Shirole said, "In this regard, I have written a letter to the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and the Maharashtra state Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray requested to direct the banks and financial institutions to immediately put an end to the 'recovery agent' methodology and also direct the Police Department to urgently take action against the perpetrators, and also the bank managers ordering such unlawful activities."