Moneylenders regulation Bill adopted

The Assembly on Thursday adopted The Andhra Pradesh Money Lenders Bill 2017, aimed at consolidating the laws relating to money lending.

The government came out with the Bill in view of the excesses, including sexual harassment, by the money lenders. It regulates and streamlines the business.

Presenting the Bill on behalf of Home Minister Nimmakayala Chinarajappa, BC Welfare Minister K. Atchannaidu said it would be mandatory to obtain licence for carrying out the business. The licence holders will also have to pay a security deposit ranging from Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 2.5 lakh to the government. They should also exhibit over the shop or place of business, his name with the word ‘money lender’ and its equivalent in regional language, he said.

The lenders were collecting exorbitant interest rate without any rhyme and reason. The government would decide the maximum rate of interest to be charged. The accounts of the money lender should also be audited once in a year, he said.

“Taking a serious note of the harassment cases reported in the State, designating a special court to try offences against sexual exploitation is also proposed,” the Minister said.

MLAs Bandaru Satyanarayana Murthy, Baggu Ramana Murthy, Vishnu Kumar Raju and others expressed concern over the problems faced by the poor due to the unlawful procedures adopted by the money lenders. They pointed out that the lenders were taking possession of property documents of the borrowers before giving loans. They also insist on blank cheques, promissory notes etc. Women were also sexually harassed, they said, adding, stringent punishment clauses should be included in the Bill.

Mr. Raju said various types of lending activity were going on. The interest rate varied from 10 to 12%. In some cases, 10% per day was being charged from the borrowers, who were mainly petty vendors. Writing the licence number on the promissory note should also be part of the Bill, he added.

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