Banks mull loan-moratorium for returnee nurses
Kerala nurses, who had to hastily return from Iraq and Libya after trouble broke out there, may get a moratorium on repayment of education loans and recruitment fees, a top banking official said Friday.
Addressing a special meeting of the state-level bankers committee (SLBC) here, state Finance Minister K.M. Mani highlighted the difficulties being faced by these nurses.
"Several nurses from our state had taken education loans and for a better living they went to Iraq and Libya by paying fees for recruitment and incurring travel expenses. Now with trouble in those countries, they have been forced to return. We wish to bring to your attention that these nurses should be given a moratorium on the loans taken by them and also a concession in the interest rates," said Mani.
Responding to the demand made by the minister, R.K. Dubey, chairman of the Canara Bank, who are the lead bankers in Kerala, said this matter would be taken up at the full meeting of the SLBC next month.
By now more than 200 nurses have returned from Iraq and Libya. There are more than 1,000 nurses presently working in these countries.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had assured the nurses that he would take up the issue of their loans with the SLBC.
Expressing happiness on the efforts made by the state government, a nurse who did not wish to be identified said she had taken an education loan of Rs.3 lakh.
"I worked in Iraq for less than a year and did not get the salary for the last two months. The job in Iraq was the lifeline of my family, who banked on me. Now we are back to square one and we wish we are given some concessions. Is it not a genuine request by us," asked the nurse.
Nurses who have returned from these countries spent around Rs.2 lakh on recruitment charges and travel expenses apart from the educational loans taken to pursue their nursing studies.
(Posted on 08-08-2014)