New Delhi : In a bid to provide financial aid and relief during the ongoing pandemic, public sector banks (PSBs) have launched a new scheme. Announced by the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) and State Bank of India (SBI), the scheme is based on loans and will have three distinct products.

According to the official announcement, every individual, regardless of being salaried, non-salaried or pensioner, will be eligible for a personal loan of up to Rs 5 lakh. The COVID loan will start from Rs 25,000 and go all the way to Rs 5 lakh for any COVID-related treatment.

This development follows the several COVID relief initiatives that were launched by several notable companies like Tata, Hyundai, Suzuki, Mahindra and Adani. SBI, HDFC, IDFC and other financial institutions were also quick to join the COVID fight.

The offered loans will be collateral-free and have a repayment period of five years. SBI will charge an interest of 8.5% per annum. Similarly, other banks will be free to set their own interest rates. The development comes after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) decided to introduce measures like term liquidity facility for Rs 50,000 crore COVID loan book.

Temporary hospitals, oxygen supplies, vaccination and funds were donated by companies as the country struggled to come to terms with the worsening situation. Donations were also made to several funds including the PM CARES fund along with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits and ventilators by Adani. SBI was also amongst the many contributors, committing Rs 70 crore towards overcoming the second wave. Similarly, Tata converted many of their hotels to temporary hospitals and modified existing hospitals to accommodate more patients.

The latest announcement by SBI will enable easier access to medical aid by individuals seeking COVID treatment. With certain parts of the country still under lockdown conditions, finances have become a constraining factor in availing treatment. Along with laudable efforts by companies like Tata, Reliance and Adani, SBI and other PSBs’ decision to provide COVID loan will also help the country tide over the second COVID wave.


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