India’s anxious middle class is left waiting for EMI relief after the $22 billion Coronavirus lockdown package

India's middle class is asking the government for a 'pause' on EMI payments during the lock down periodBI India

India’s middle class was clamouring for a break from paying their loans after the 21-day lockdown came into effect to contain the spread of the novel Coronavirus. However, Nirmala Sitharaman’s financial action plan of ₹1.7 lakh crore ($22 billion) did not offer any relief on equated monthly installment (EMI) payments.

The Press Information Bureau’s YouTube feed was flooded with requests with people asking the government to pause

PIB's YouTube feed during Nirmala Sitharaman's press conference today, March 26Screenshot/PIB Youtube/BI India


In the last press conference on March 24, Sitharaman had addressed a question on EMIs and said that the Department of Financial Services (within the Ministry of Finance that she heads) may take an appropriate decision. This stoked hope that thousands of people whose jobs, salaries, and appraisals are at stake ⁠— even businesses which have to pay monthly instalments on loans ⁠— may get some reprieve as part of the relief package. However, that hope came undone today.

The need for EMI relief
The lock down has forced many businesses to shut down and factories have had to close their doors. As a result, a few people have been forced to take unpaid leave— like in the case of GoAir, Indigo, and AIESL with hyperlink to the story — with the uncertainty around when the Coronavirus crisis will finally end.

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Not just on YouTube, but also on Twitter, many individuals are pleading with the government to provide some relaxation. Infosys co-founder TV Mohandas Pai joined in asking the government to provide at least 6 months of deferment on EMI and loan interests.

In addition to salaried employees, individuals who drive auto-rickshaws or those who drive Uber and Ola cabs also need more time to pay their loans since they won’t be able to ferry passengers during the lock down.

See also:
India announces a $22 billion package including cash transfers to feed and serve the poor during the Coronavirus lockdown

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Coronavirus cases in Tamil Nadu news and updates

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