A meeting between high bank officials and the Law Commission on Wednesday highlighted the need for bank loan defaulters to be dealt with and for the money outstanding with them to be recovered. Additionally, the participants at the meeting stressed the requirement for a social movement to be waged against the default loan culture which has kept the country in its grip for the past couple of decades, perhaps more.
No one argues that raising awareness against the ill effects of a default culture among society is a must. In a modern society such awareness is regarded as part of the process of governance. Unfortunately, however, the impunity which elements involved in borrowing loans from the banks and walking away with the amount without any intention of repaying it have enjoyed has been a huge disincentive for the nation.
There have been sad examples of poor farmers being persecuted over their inability to pay back the relatively meager loans they took from banks, but hardly anything was done to punish the nouveau riche whose wealth came to be constituted on the loans borrowed from banks.
Indeed, it has been a sordid experience for the nation to see a good number of these loan defaulters enjoying the limelight in various ways, through involvement in politics or having political connections or engaging in so-called social work. They have always seemed to be in the sun, with hardly anyone getting seriously into the business of taking them to task over their criminality.
We appreciate this need for social awareness to be forged on the issue, but unless the government gets into the serious business of identifying and bringing before the law all these defaulters, there is really little that can be done. In a society where black money is easily converted into white money, where bank loans are not repaid, where clichés are mouthed on a regular basis, it is futile to expect change.
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