Evening. I looked at the boy, his cute innocent smile. Too many faces for the day and too little time to make any sense of it. The boy is too small for this world. There is a cocoon protecting him. Many don’t get the chance. Let him be – safe and happy.
We had set out for revenue recovery Mela in the morning. For those of you who may mistake ‘Mela’ for a festival, it’s far away from that. The bitch did warn that this was going to be something like a roller-coster ride. She wasn’t wrong. The journey started through the picturesque Kuttanad belt. The ducks and the fields came straight out of a picture post card. The paradox is this beautiful region is increasingly sounding the death knell of many a people.
We, four officials started out in the morning, intending to reach half an hour late. The people must know who the VIP is. Me and my mate were kind of stenographers- doing nothing creative but filling out the negotiation sheets. As for my mate, I found it particularly tough to stand her. But guts is a quality you might never find in me. We walked into the room to find it filled with people. We have to push and shove to reach our seat.
As soon as we rested our asses people teemed in and crowded around the table. I sat there watching the people, when the boss was doing his negotiations. There were disabled, people on crutches, people with proud faces and some with sympathy . Revenue recovery basically happens after Bank writes off debts. Then it turns out to be the duty of village officer to get back the money. We with a view to get back anything we might have lost, try to squeeze in as much as we can. A small commission is paid to the Village office. Even the interest rates aren’t calculated correctly and the whole thing is a publicity stunt.
Ever since liberalization and Basel days, banks have been trying hard and mad to meet the capital norms. So they tend to be extra cautious when there is a chance for assets going bad. But on top of it Government pushes for more loans to priority sector. There is a great chance for the loans going bad. And without enough security we’ve no choice but to write it off.
As soon as the whole exercise started, the people clammered around the table crying, pleading, demanding a waiver. The tough part was to make out the genuine cases from the fake ones. One of our initial cases was a man who took the educational loan for his kid and the kid couldn’t find a job and couldn’t repay it. I soon found out this wasn’t going to be the last.
A few years ago, Government decided to dole out licenses for free to any sort of educational institutions. The man behind the idiotic idea is protecting our country as the defense minister. His idea of rooting out corruption was to legalize it. Then to get the votes they forced the banks to give the loans for free. Then to please the cash hungry, illiterate college chairmen they liberalized the fee structure. Today we have the situation where young kids with starry eyes walk away with huge loans. It takes them 4 years to realize there are no MNCs waiting and the small jobs aren’t enough for the EMIs.
I met a guy from as far as Bangalore. Once upon a time male nurses was a lucrative option for the not so intelligent boys. The fees were obscene and today the hospitals totally shut out the jobs for men and the poor guy said he had no option but a higher study. He assured me the chances for a job is assured there. Who knows?!
Then there was this man who carried her palsy affected kid. He started with folded hands on his sick child. Our boss coldly cut him short, ‘Come to the point’. May be he came into exploit some of our soft corners. I was confused by the sympathy towards this man and despise for carrying his sick kid along.
The other interesting genre were the ones who stood as mutual guarantors. Even failure of one pulled the other into a quagmire, they were dragging each other in afraid to let the other go. There were women who went back and pawned their gold. They were very sure that, they might not be able to get it back.
Housing is a dream for every Mallu. But as soon as he starts to build it, he just blows away the cash. There was a well dressed man. From the looks of it, it became obvious that he was not used to this crowd. He later broke up and said even his wife’s Mangal Sutra was pawned and he had to lock his sick mother at home to come here. Even the unshakeable boss was visibly shaken.
Interestingly when the Mallyas, with as much as 7000 crore walk around happily and still throwing money around, people with a loan as less as 50000 bucks have to come crawling on their knees. Mallya still is the rash, lovely guy who has the time of his life. But how many bother that the money he gambles on his ventures, are really that of the people who beg for a waiver!!
Systematically we are heading to a total collapse- with a government who concentrates income generation capacity into the hands of a select few, while the rest of the population has to depend on them.