A massive protest rally against loot, arbitrary recoveries and harassment of poor by microfinance companies in the state was organized by Mazdoor Mukti Morcha and CPI (ML) in Fatehgarh Chudi Mandi in Gurdaspur district on November 6, 2023. Addressing the rally, Com. Gurmeet Singh said that in the rising unemployment has pushed people into the debt trap and microfinance companies are exploiting the people by charging exorbitant interest rate. There are arbitrary high file charges and deduction of the first installment at time of loan disbursement. The poor workers are forced to sign on blank papers and blank cheques by the moneylenders and microfinance companies.
When the borrowers cannot pay full instalment amounts, they are forced to take a larger loan which is given to them after adjusting the principal and interest amount of previous loan. This in effect makes it the same old method of private moneylenders to trap the peasantry into the debt trap.
The rally also noted that the AAP government, which came to power on the plank of pro-poor policies has failed to keep its promise of loan waiver and generating employment. Even the MNERAGA schemes are not implemented, leading to rise in rural unemployment.
The protesters called for intensifying the movement against the microfinance companies and their harassment and also for ensuring that the AAP government keeps it’s promise of loan wavier and relaxations.
The rally also extended solidarity with NewsClick journalists who are facing repression orchestrated by the Modi-BJP regime to silence the voice of the free press. Speakers at protest also unequivocally condemned Israel’s genocidal war against the people of Palestine.