In a move that will generate public discussion, the apex body of bank employees has written to Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora to debar bank loan defaulters from contesting elections.
As of March 31, 2018, there are a total of 9,331 willful defaulters, whose outstanding loans amount to a staggering Rs 1,22,018 crore, according to the All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA).
In the letter, AIBEA general secretary Ch Venkatachalam said that instead of taking tough action on the defaulting borrowers, the government is being too lenient, whereby defaulters are able to extract huge concessions in repayment and banks are compelled to suffer heavy losses.
"We have been demanding, in public interest, that bank loan defaulters should not be permitted to contest elections or hold any public office," he said.
According to Venkatachalam, "Since the nominations by the candidates will be filed now for the ensuing elections, we seek your special attention to this important aspect and issue notification and suitable guidelines that while the nomination papers are filed by the candidates, a declaration should be obtained that he/she and the companies in which they are having stake and connections are not bank loan defaulters. We further urge upon you to notify that bank loan defaulters are ineligible to contest the ensuing elections."
The AIBEA pointed out that it is also a well-known fact that bulk of these bad loans are taken by big businesses and the affluent.
"It is obvious that cheating the banks is nothing but cheating the people, as banks extend loan from the money deposited by the people," he added.