KARNATAKA

Women struggle to repay loans taken from microfinance institutions

No way out:Women who borrowed loans from microfinance institutions are worried as they do not have cash to pay the instalments. They are not getting work to earn after the demonetisation.— Photo: Prakash Hassan

No way out:Women who borrowed loans from microfinance institutions are worried as they do not have cash to pay the instalments. They are not getting work to earn after the demonetisation.— Photo: Prakash Hassan  

The institutions are forcing members to clear dues, irrespective of whether they are earning or not

The demonetisation of Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 500 notes has severely affected women who had borrowed loans from microfinance institutions. While some of them have resorted to mortgaging gold and sell household items to pay weekly instalments, there have been cases where some attempted suicide as they were unable to bear the burden of repaying the loans.

The representatives of the microfinance institutions, who lend money at a high rate of interest of up to 25 per cent, are forcing members to clear the dues, irrespective of whether they are earning or not.

Azmath Unnisa (35), a resident of Pension Mohalla in Hassan, borrowed a total of Rs. 59,000 from three women Self Help Groups attached to three different institutions. She has to pay Rs. 800 back every week, besides another Rs. 1,450 per month. “I get Rs. 20 for binding a bundle of beedi. Everyday, I bind four to five bundles and manage to earn about Rs. 100. Besides this, I work as a maid in a house, from where I earn Rs. 2,000 a month,” she said.

Lack of work

Unnisa’s husband committed suicide eight years ago. She has been look after her three children all by herself ever since. For the last one month, the beedi unit owner has not assigned her any work as he does not have any cash to pay the workers.

Hundreds of women in Pension Mohalla, Chippinakatte and Chikkanalu area take up beedi work to run their families.

Ayesha Banu (35), also a beedi worker from Chikkanalu, has to pay to Rs. 4,000 a month to clear her loan. Till recently, her husband, an autorickshaw driver, was supporting her in paying the amount. However, he met with an accident last month. “The representatives of the microfinance institutions verbally abuse us if we are not able to pay the instalments,” she said.

In fact, Misrat Rubi (24), a mother of two children, who has to pay Rs. 1,100 a week, attempted suicide by setting herself ablaze last week. She survived with minor injuries as her relatives intervened just in time.

Roopa, of Chikkanalu, works in a holige (obbattu) unit and earns up to Rs. 200. She and her husband, who sells coconuts in Hassan market, have to pay Rs. 6,000 every month as an instalment. Roopa too has been unable to get work in the last one month. Her husband’s income has also fallen of late owing to demonetisation. “I have mortgaged my gold ornaments and also sold a wash-boiler to pay the instalment,” she said.

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