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Banks to help nurses returning from Iraq, Libya

Banks to help nurses returning from Iraq, Libya

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala's State Level Bankers Committee (SLBC) has agreed to the state government's request to provide benefits to around 500 nurses who have returned from conflict-hit Iraq and Libya.

The benefits will be in the form of one-time settlements and loans at reduced rates.

P. Sudeep, CEO of Roots-Norka, an agency for non-resident Keralites, told IANS that the SLBC has said that all educational loans up to Rs.4 lakh availed by the nurses will come under a waiver scheme.

"The banks have agreed to write off all the interests on educational loans availed by these nurses and have come out with a one-time settlement which states that only the capital (maximum Rs.4 lakh) will have to be repaid," he said.

More than 500 nurses from Kerala have returned from Iraq and Libya since July after trouble broke out there. They had requested the Oommen Chandy government for some monetary benefits.

Most of these nurses had availed educational loans during the period of their training as nurses. When they started to repay the loans after getting employment in Iraq and Libya, trouble started there. Many of them have been unable to pay for more than 18 months and the loan amount got inflated by way of interest.

Sudeep said the state government has also announced a rehabilitation scheme through banks for those who returned from various Middle East countries.

"In the new scheme, all those returnees who availed loans for self-employment schemes will get 15 percent subsidy instead of the earlier announced 10 percent on the capital.

"They will also a subsidy of three percent in the first four years of repayment on the interest portion. This is going to be a huge benefit for those who have availed loans for buying vehicles for taxi operations," Sudeep said.

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