Final inquiry report in a couple of days
As many as 16 deaths have been caused due to the coercive practices of microfinance institutions (MFIs), according to an inquiry launched by the state government into the spate of suicides by borrowers of MFIs.
“Initial reports from various districts have so far confirmed 16 cases of suicides due to MFIs,” a government official told Business Standard adding the final number was likely to increase when all the field reports were consolidated.
The final report would be ready in two or three days.
The inquiry team visited the families of the deceased for investigating the reasons for the deaths. There are also indications of MFIs being responsible indirectly for some deaths.
The official, however, did not identify the erring MFIs saying more data was being collected.
Earlier, Microfinance Institutions Network (MFIN) president and Basix founder Vijay Mahajan, who demanded a detailed probe into the suicide cases by social scientists, said ,“MFIs would atone for the deaths” if proved.
MFIN had said it would monetarily compensate the family and also take punitive action against the erring staff of the MFI. If required, the MFI responsible for the deaths would also be expelled from MFIN.
The government had earlier alleged that about 75 borrowers committed suicides in the last two months due to the coercive action of the MFIs. Following this, it brought in the Andhra Pradesh Micro Finance Institutions (Regulation of Money Lending) Ordinance, 2010, to protect the borrowers.
The state in one of its counters to a petition challenging the provisions of the ordinance had said that some MFIs unleashed anti-social elements on the poor if they did not repay. Many a time, the MFI recovery agents resorted to driving the borrowers to suicides to claim the insurance amount by abusing, insulting, taking away cooking utensils, TV and other household items for nonpayment.