Maharashtra: NBFCs want permission to function their offices with at least 30 per cent staff


Non-bank lenders and housing finance companies have approached the Maharashtra government and sought permission to function their offices and branches with at least 30 percent staff strength. NBFCs have requested that they should be treated on par with banks and included in essential services category.

The state government which announced a month long shutdown, has exempted banks, stock exchanges, asset management companies and insurance firms from the closure of offices.

“We request you to issue necessary advisory that the essential operations of non-banking financial companies in Maharashtra are continued on par with banking operation and to facilitate the essential staff to provide the essential services to our stakeholders,” the NBFC industry body FIDC said in a letter addressed to Maharashtra chief secretary Sitaram Kunte.

“If at least 30% of our staff are permitted to be operative on rotation basis, it is necessary that certain essential staff may be permitted to carry out the operations, in small number and at staggered timings while following social distancing,” the letter states.

Most NBFCs have offices and operations across the state of Maharashtra, more particularly in Mumbai.

Non-bank lenders have been included in essential services by the central government in an order passed in April 2020. NBFCs specifically cater to to the small truck or commercial vehicle operators, ,farmers, medium and small enterprises and the lower strata of society who don’t have access to digital platforms to carry out daily transactions.

“The SOPs issued by the Maharashtra government is again silent on non-bank lenders and housing finance companies, we fulfil a need which is in the same space as banks albeit for a segment that none of the banks care for and we just hope some day we get our due,” said Ravi Subramanian, MD, Shriram Housing Finance.

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The surge in active Covid-19 cases almost to the 6 lakh mark in March 2021 from less than 1.5 lakh in mid February 2021 has raised some doubts regarding the potential recovery. India remains among the largest contributors to the daily global tally.

Though India began its mass vaccination drive in January 2021, a potential second wave of the pandemic could trip up business activity and consumption and wreak the country’s growth plans, according to rating agency

.

Maharashtra which has been the biggest contributor of the surge in infections announced a month long lockdown along with a total weekend curfew to plug the rise of Covid 19 cases.



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