Vijayawada: The AP Assembly passed the Moneylenders Bill in a recent session. The government of Andhra Pradesh has said that with this bill, unethical money lending could be controlled. The call money system had been going strong in Vijayawada, until the culprits were arrested by the police two years ago. Now, they are back to their earlier ways. The real question is, can the new Bill put an end to call money or not?
The call money scandal reverberated in Vijayawada and Andhra Pradesh in 2015, when a woman filed a case in which she stated that moneylenders were harassing her and even tried pushing her into prostitution. The case created a sensationand the Assembly resounded with the Opposition MLAs’ allegations. The call money system, which had a huge turnover of almost Rs 600 crores was busted with these cases and police enquiries. All the culprits who were caught, were in some way associated with political leaders.
The cases were registered, there was a blaze of publicity for two or three months, and then everything went back to ‘normal’. After all of this, call money is continuing unabated in Vijayawada. They’re operating in full swing, doing more business than they did earlier. The only difference is that it’s not operating openly, like in 2015. G. Ajay of Krishnalanka said, "Banks will not give loans to certain applicants very easily. So, urgent need will force the people to get call money, thinking that they can repay it immediately.
"But then the torture starts, when your plan of payment fails. I myself have paid a whopping Rs 6 lakh for a Rs 2 lakh loan I had taken." A police official said, that the black money of politicians, corruption and bribe amounts of government officials will be rotated in the call money. "If we can stop this source of money to the benami moneylenders, then this call money can be curbed," he added.
The new law passed by the Assembly says that "every moneylender should be registered, and the number has to be mentioned on the promissory note. Additionally, the government will fix all interest rates". There are rules which are not being implemented and nobody is monitoring them. The same can be repeated, even after the new law.
It’s a bleak scenario. It looks as though the greed of the public and the political clout of moneylenders will continue call money, even after the enforcement of the law. The Bill will take time to come into force.