Taxi Bhagya beneficiaries wait for banks to give loans

Though the government grants unemployed young men loans, the banks refuse to release money.

The Tourism department gives a subsidy of Rs 2 lakh to 250 unemployed youth in the district to buy tourism taxis. The rest of the money should be loaned from banks.

But none of the beneficiaries from last year have received loans from the banks. People applied for the grant in July 2014, and beneficieries were chosen in January. The Deputy Commissioner’s office chose candidates recommended by the legislators of the respective taluks. In every taluk, 15 beneficieries were chosen from the Scheduled Castes, Tribes and 10 from minority communities and other backward classes.

Apart from the subsidy money, SBM which was chosen by the governemnt for the scheme, was supposed to loan the rest. The beneficiaries are allowed to take loan under the scheme only at SBM.

Conditions apply

According to the lead bank’s instructions, five per cent of the loan amount must be paid to the bank before the loan is granted. That is if the car cost the beneficiary Rs 6 lakh, he has to pay the bank Rs 20,000 to avail the loan.

The bank managers at the various SBM branches are refusing to grant the loan. They demand that the beneficiaries pay 50 per cent of the loan amount instead of the five per cent specified by the lead bank. But these unemployed men are unable to afford that much money and they have not bought taxis till now.

If a beneficiary wants to buy a car worth Rs four lakh, the bank says it will give Rs one lakh as loan if they manage to arrrange another lakh by themselves along with the Rs two lakh subsidy money. If the bank gives a loan of Rs four lakh, the beneficiary has to pay installments of Rs eight thousand every month. The banks fear that they will be unable to pay that much every month and hesitate to sanction loans.

Just because the beneficiaries are drivers, they are not even asked to sit while they are spoken to. They take about seven months to send in the loan sanction papers to the main office. “We waste everyday at the bank,” said Rajesh, a beneficiary of the scheme.

“If they allow our regular banks to give us loans under the scheme, they might be sanctioned at least on the basis of familiarity. Private banks keep urging us to take vehicle loans from them, but we are not allowed to avail these loans,” say beneficiaries.

“If the subsidy money at least is given to us we can deposit it at a private bank and take loans. The Deputy Commissioner should think about this. They should get the SBM banks to release the subsidy amount,” they said.

Last years’ beneficiaries have not yet driven their taxis but the Tourism department has already called for applications for this year. This scheme can be availed by candidates who have cleared the SSLC exam and have a DL and yellow badge.

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