- SBI refused data sought under RTI
- SBI did not share data on interest waiver claims it received
- In October, the government had appointed SBI as the nodal agency and said it will receive funds for the settlement of such claims
The State Bank of India (SBI) which is in charge of collating and settling the compound interest waiver reimbursement claims by lenders for the last round of the interest waiver scheme during the moratorium, has declined to shell out the information on the quantum of claims it received.
Responding to a Right to Information (RTI) query filed by the news agency Mint, the State Bank of India first said, in January, that the information sought is exempted under Section 8(1)(d) of the RTI Act 2005 and added, “Moreover, the same is held by us in a fiduciary capacity & hence exempted from disclosure under Section 8(1) (e) as well. Therefore, cannot be parted with”.
Thereafter, an appeal was also disposed of in February on the same grounds.
In October, the government appointed the State Bank of India as the nodal agency for this task and also said that it will receive funds for the settlement of such claims.
The other lenders were told to submit their claims by the 15th of December to SBI which is also the biggest lender in the country.
Having said this, it has been estimated that the government has paid ₹ 6,500 crore to the lenders against the compound interest waiver of a segment of borrowers for the moratorium period of March to August in 2020.
In the year 2020, the year of pandemic and lockdown, the Indian government announced retail and small business loans up to ₹ 2 crore will get the benefit of the compound interest waiver.
A total of 8 sectors where this benefit was extended to are:
- Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs)
- Education loans
- Consumer durables
- Credit card dues
- Auto loans
- Personal and professional loans
- Consumption loans
The moratorium which was announced to help the Indian borrowers tide over the COVID-induced crisis ended on the 31st of August.
There could very well be another round of compound interest waiver as, on Tuesday, the Supreme Court of India said that all borrowers, irrespective of their outstanding loans, should be eligible for this scheme.
Analysts at the rating agency Icra Limited have estimated that the additional cost could be between ₹ 7,000 and ₹ 7,500 crore.
In its order, the Supreme Court said, “There is no justification shown to restrict the relief of not charging interest on interest with respect to the loans up to ₹ 2 crore only and that too restricted to the aforesaid categories”.