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No publicity for education loan defaulters

The government has directed state-run banks not to publish photographs of defaulters of education loans in newspapers. The banks have been adopting ‘name-and-shame’ policy to force borrowers to pay up defaulted loans, but the step by the government may act as a shield for the youth. The government has recently announced an interest subsidy scheme on unpaid education loans in the interim budget announcement. An official said most students are not wilful defaulters. A large section where loans have gone bad is mostly because of unemployment. A move to legally challenge public identification of defaulters fell last November when the Bombay High Court refused to stop publication of photographs of a defaulter firm, saying it was in larger public interest. The court ruling prompted some banks, including the State Bank of India, to even publish names of some education loan defaulters. The government official said the same yardstick cannot be applied to all cases. The decision to publish names and photographs was to shame wilful defaulters and apply social pressure.

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