During the global recession years of 2008-2009, Mr. S Thakur, an executive with an IT company in Gurgaon was finding it difficult to maintain his finances and support his family. He had to take a salary cut to save his job and ended up defaulting on a couple of credit card payments, which damaged his CIBIL rating.
Things became normal in coming years, but little did Mr. Thakur know that his credit card defaults could prove to be a stumbling block in the study plans of his younger son Sumit 8 years later. Sumit had completed his B. Com course from Kolkata in 2014 and was working in a local company and preparing for higher education at the same time. He wanted to get an MBA degree.
On 18th March this year, Sumit got an admission offer from Institute of Management Technology (IMT), Hyderabad to pursue the Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) course, which is akin to getting an MBA degree. IMT on its website had suggested Punjab National Bank (PNB) as one of the banks to go for education loan. PNB’s website also listed IMT as an institute for which they do provide education loans.
24-year-old Sumit secured provision admission at IMT Hyderabad after paying the required 50,000 rupees and applied for an education loan of 12.6 lakh rupees at PNB in Kolkata on 24th March, so that he is able to pay the first installment of the course fee by 15th April. He thought that a nationalized bank will easily sanction the loan for an approved institute and course.
However, till 6th April, PNB didn’t sanction him the loan. He was getting worried and asked the bank officials the reason. His father’s poor credit history was one of the reasons why the bank refused to give him a loan, Sumit told OpIndia.com
Sumit tried to argue that the reputation of the college and the course where he was seeking admission to, and his own academic background should be the factors behind sectioning the loan, not his father’s financial history, but that didn’t help. Sumit didn’t know what to do next.
Around the same time, Sumit had read about an incident where a Muslim girl from Karnataka wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and had got her education loan sanctioned. The girl had reportedly referred to Prime Minister’s ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ scheme in her letter.
Though he didn’t exactly fit in the ‘Beti Padhao’ scheme, Sumit tried to test his luck. He googled how can one write to Prime Minister’s Office and discovered the website enabling grievance redressal by the Government of India.
He wrote about his plight on the above website and addressed it to the Prime Minister’s Office on 7th April. Meanwhile IMT had extended the last date of submission of first installment of the fees from 15th April to 29th April. Sumit decided to wait for a couple of weeks, and if no help comes, he’d have to forget his MBA plans and ask IMT to refund his 50,000 rupees.
On 20th April – little less than a couple of weeks since he wrote to the Prime Minister’s Office – Sumit received a call from the PNB officials who told him that his education loan will be sanctioned. The officials told him that they had received communication from higher ups inquiring about the incident.
A happy and a little confused Sumit then logged onto the aforementioned website to discover that the Prime Minister’s Office had forwarded his complaint to the PNB’s Kolkata Circle Office on 19th April i.e. just the previous day.
Sumit thanked the officials (and his stars) and he told the bank officials that there was nothing to worry about as there was no demand by him for any punitive action and that this was just a centralized grievance redressal system at work. His motive of using the grievance redressal system was to get clarity on the education loan process, not to extract some penalty from the bank or any employee.
The first installment of the fees has now been submitted to IMT Hyderabad and Sumit is now all set to pursue his dreams of higher education starting next month. He and his family are happy to have experienced this grievance redressal first hand.
“Previously people would think thrice before even approaching their local councillor for any help. And now you can write straightaway to the PMO and get help sitting in your room. If this isn’t good governance, then I don’t know what is!” Sumit’s father told OpIndia.com reacting to the whole development.