Our Bureau

Chennai, Jan. 16

THE Industrial and Financial Reconstruction Association for Small and Tiny Enterprises (Infraste) has complained to the Reserve Bank of India over the "poor publicity" given by banks to the RBI-directed `One-Time Settlement' scheme for small enterprises.

In its memorandum to the RBI, the Infraste President, Mr DE Ramakrishnan has noted that one of the main reasons for the failure of two such schemes earlier was the lack of adequate publicity.

"More than four months have elapsed since the circular was issued. But the alacrity expected of the commercial banks, either in the giving of adequate and wide publicity in newspapers or of the notice mandated in the guideline to eligible individual borrowers, has, however, been sadly missing," notes Mr Ramakrishnan.

The time frame mandated by RBI up to March 31 for the receipt of such application from the individual borrowers cannot and should not be touted as an excuse by the banks, much less justify this lethargic attitude up till now.

Advertisements, in the first instance, are few and far between and a majority of them are not given in regular English and vernacular dailies, but in financial papers only, which does not serve the ultimate purpose of the message reaching widely to all.

He has also observed that even in those advertisements that have appeared, the important aspect of the non discretionary and non discriminatory nature of the OTS has been "very conveniently blacked out."

Also, the ads do not disclose that under the scheme even suit-filed and DRT-decreed accounts are eligible for the scheme.

Mr Ramakrishnan has called for "stricter policing" by RBI of its schemes and imposition of penalties on those banks that take liberties with the schemes.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 17, 2006)
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