Industry

Ola to provide interest-free loans to drivers for three weeks in face of COVID-19 lockdown

Drivers can use the credit amount to pay for their planned household expenses or repayments. File

Drivers can use the credit amount to pay for their planned household expenses or repayments. File   | Photo Credit: B. JOTHI RAMALINGAM

This scheme, called Sahyog, is available for all drivers of all categories, and eligible drivers will be able to access loan amounts of up to ₹1200 per week

Ola on Tuesday announced a scheme to provide interest-free loans to drivers on its platforms to address the immediate liquidity crisis faced by drivers across the country.

Drivers of cabs have been hard hit under the COVID-19 lockdown with many not having funds to make ends meet.

This scheme, called Sahyog, is available for all drivers of all categories including Ola Auto, Ola Rentals and Outstation and will be distributed using the microfinance lending platform, Avail Finance.

The loan will aim to supplant the incomes of thousands of driver-partners who haven’t had a steady source of income due to the ongoing pandemic. All eligible drivers will be able to access loan amounts of up to ₹1200 per week, disbursed over the course of three weeks.

Drivers can use the credit amount to pay for their planned household expenses or repayments. The credit shall be set off against earnings on the platform over a period upon return of normalcy in business.

Also read: Ola, Uber suspend ride-sharing option across India

Ola, in a statement said that Sahyog will help address immediate liquidity needs of over 100,000 families of driver-partners and their families pan India. Last week, Ola launched a crowdfunding under the Ola Foundation to support auto-rickshaw, cab, kaali-peeli and taxi drivers. The company had also waived off lease rentals, akin to an EMI, for driver partners who operate vehicles owned by Ola’s subsidiary, Ola Fleet Technologies, under its leasing program.

Speaking on the initiative, Anand Subramanian, Spokesperson and Head of Communications, Ola, said, “The financial well-being of our driver-partners and their families in these challenging times is of prime importance to us. There is an immediate need for access to instant cash to pay for household expenses which they are unable to foot, given the loss of income due to the ongoing lockdown.

“Sahyog enables them to access micro-credit instantly, in their registered bank accounts, allowing drivers and their families to tide through these difficult times with much needed liquidity. We are committed to doing everything we can to reduce the economic burden and safeguard the interests of our driver-partners and their families through these unprecedented times.”

Ankush Aggarwal, Founder & CEO of Avail Finance said, “We are very happy to extend the Avail platform to deliver the ‘Sahyog’ micro-credit solution to Ola driver-partners. Avail’s platform will help Ola identify eligible driver partners as well as to manage disbursement of credit in real-time. In these times of distress, an instant credit to meet immediate day to day expenses will go a long way in helping hundreds of thousands of families tide through this phase.”

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 7:21:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/ola-to-provide-interest-free-loans-to-drivers-for-three-weeks-in-face-of-covid-19-lockdown/article31218750.ece

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