The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) decision to ban zero per cent interest rate scheme for purchase of consumer goods has poured cold water on the plans of several middle class families planning to buy consumer products in the coming festival season.

“We wanted to buy a new refrigerator and a washing machine during the festival offers that abound around Deepavali. The zero per cent interest rate on instalments would give me a cushion. If the scheme has been banned, we will be forced to reconsider our plans,” said Roopa Lakshmikanth, a lecturer in a college.

‘Anti-consumer’

FKCCI president R. Shivakumar described the move as “anti-consumer” and “anti-industry”. “Who will benefit from this move? The RBI should not interfere in such matters.” He pointed to the West and said that zero per cent interest schemes and discounts start there months before Christmas and New Year. “And here, instead of encouraging trade during the peak season, the RBI is trying to dampen the spirit.”

‘Hidden charges’

Gerard Sridharan, a professor of accountancy and banking in a city college, said the RBI move was not completely misdirected.

“Many financial institutions and banks tend to cheat the public by announcing zero per cent interest schemes. They have many hidden charges that the public doesn’t notice in their consumerist frenzy,” he said.

He said he needed to still read the fine print of the RBI’s new guidelines. “From what I have read so far, it seems like a move that is well intentioned. But I don’t know if the intentions will translate into positive change for the market.”

‘Instead of encouraging trade during the peak season, the RBI is trying to dampen the spirit’

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