Published: 17th December 2021
Are students in Bengal being harassed for taking education loans under Mamata's Student Credit Card programme?
The Student Credit Card scheme helps students avail loans from banks in a hassle-free manner so that they can pursue their education
The Government of West Bengal has asked banks to look into the complaints coming in from students alleging harassment at the hands of lenders while processing loans under a state-run scheme, as per an official. The accusations against several banks were regarding "cancelling applications or delaying the processing of loans" under the Student Credit Card programme.
Till December 13, nearly 1,20,000 applications were submitted under this scheme and 50,000 of them have been sent to banks for approval. "Banks have so far accepted around 6,000 applications. Not only that, some applications were rejected and returned to the district administrations. Chief Secretary HK Dwivedi has already directed officials to form a committee in each district to deal with the issue,” the official said, as per a report in PTI. He also said that students have alleged that lenders are "seeking information which is not required" to extend advances under the programme.
On December 15, the Chief Secretary conducted a meeting that involved officials of the state education department and district administrations along with banks to look into this. "The Higher Education Department has asked lenders not to harass students who are seeking loans under the Student Credit Card scheme. Bankers have also been requested to ensure that poor meritorious students are not deprived of it," the official said. It was back in September that the state government had asked the district magistrate to look into these complaints of students filed against private banks. Allegedly, these banks were asking for collateral from the parents of students in exchange for extending loans under the programme. "The banks were directed to take necessary steps to give priority to poor students," he said.
Every Monday, as instructed by the government, schools, colleges and universities were asked to organise camps to promote the credit programme. Also, the government directed the Education Department to send a report about the number of students visiting these facilities, the official informed.
The Student Credit Card scheme was launched by the state government in an attempt to do away with financial issues that would otherwise constrain students in pursuing their education. A West Bengal student can obtain a maximum loan of Rs 10 lakh at four per cent annual interest from banks, under this programme. The repayment period has been pegged at 15 years and the upper age limit of the students is 40 years. It is to be noted that the Government of West Bengal has plans to host an event with regards to this scheme at Netaji Indoor Stadium, Kolkata, on January 8, 2020.