Bankers in Kerala bat for 6-month MSME loan repayment freeze

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Published: March 19, 2020 1:25:09 AM

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said in a Facebook post that the SLBC has decided to take steps to see how best they can come to the relief of all those who have taken loans.

Currently, the bank loan moratorium is permissible only to 12 types of natural disaster. Currently, the bank loan moratorium is permissible only to 12 types of natural disaster.

In the context of Covid-19 pandemic, bankers in Kerala are ready to allow a moratorium on repayment of loans from MSMEs, impacted by the fall in trade and business. The moratorium is likely to be fixed for six months or one year.

The State Level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC), which met on Tuesday, has decided to recommend the clamping of moratorium to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). “We are aware of the gravity of the situation and will advocate that we should go easy on the repayments for a while,” Ajith Krishnan, convenor, SLBC, told FE. “Both the Union government and RBI are likely to be sympathetic to the issue and give nod to the recommendation,” he said.

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said in a Facebook post that the SLBC has decided to take steps to see how best they can come to the relief of all those who have taken loans. On Monday, the CM had held consultations with SLBC, seeking interest waivers and repayment moratorium to all kinds of loans, including MSME sector, agricultural loans, housing loans, educational loans and motor loans.

Currently, the bank loan moratorium is permissible only to 12 types of natural disaster. But, Covid-19, which WHO (World Health Organisation) listed as a pandemic, is yet to figure in this list of 12. All the same, since the Centre has recognised it as a disaster, the proposal is unlikely to be rejected.

With Kerala reporting 30 confirmed Coronavirus cases, the public-health conscious state had gone into a tailspin of people confining themselves to homes, in a large scale. Beaches, parks and shopping malls are mostly deserted. Although the CM appealed to the public not to keep away from their regular shops, since it would affect the livelihoods of traders, there are apprehensions in the air. Shop owners and restaurants say business is down by about 50% this week.

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