Field inputs from various districts have identified the danger of potential suicides among unemployed or underemployed nurses and their parents, who have availed of educational loans.
‘Predatory hunting’ of defaulters by banks is leading to an explosive situation. The government had officially announced a moratorium on nursing educational loans till October 10, 2013.
But banks are ruthlessly violating it, pointed out S Mini, state secretary of Indian Nurses’ Parents’ Association (INPA). Since most of the nurses are from lower middle class and working class background, the impact of the debt is estimated to be very serious.
“ Banks are aggressively going forward with recovery proceedings. A large number of nurses are unemployed or underemployed. They are not in a situation to pay back the loan now. Their aged parents are not able to withstand pressure and humiliation,” she said. According to her, the predatory hunting of the banks has already taken many lives, which are largely unreported. “The recent suicide of Kuriakose, an agricultural labourer and father of a nursing student in Vandenmedu, Idukki, is a telling manifestation of the case,” she said.
“The norm since 2009 is that the government will pay the interest. So legally, banks are not supposed to charge interest. But most of the banks are charging it. In the case of Kuriakose, the bank had started taking interest from the third installment. At the time of the fourth installment of Rs 40,000, an amount of Rs 10,000 was collected as the interest. Kuriakose had to borrow the amount from moneylenders and the humiliation led him to commit suicide,” said K J Joseph, Idukki district president of the INPA.
It is believed that most banks pressurise loanholders to pay interest and bond documents, which is a blatant violation of RBI guidelines.