IAS topper says public sector bank harassed him over education loan
M. Sivaguru Prabakaran, IAS topper from Tamil Nadu, was allegedly harassed by a leading public sector bank, demanding that he repay the education loan even before he could get a job. The bank even held the ₹10,000 in his account under lien, preventing him from withdrawing the money to attend the Civil Services interview in New Delhi.
It was his friends who came to his rescue.
“Bank officials did their duty. I accept. But it hurts,” said Mr. Prabakaran, a resident of Thanjavur district.
Mr. Prabakaran, who secured the 101 rank in the UPSC civil services examination, has been facing financial problems for many years, but never missed an opportunity to invest in books in pursuit of his goals.
He completed Plus Two in 2004, worked as manual labourer, saved for his education, took care of his family, and even borrowed moneyto pursue higher education. Those who lent him money thought that it was impossible for him to overcome his problems. But he was steadfast and confident of improving his situation against all odds.
At the age of 29, he cleared the Civil Services Examination, and is all set to join the Indian Administrative Service. His is a tale of perseverance, determination and hard work.
During his visits to the bank, he says, security personnel used to prevent him from even talking to the manager, as he used to request him for more time to repay the loan.
“After a gap of four years, I joined civil engineering in 2008. I had to take an education loan of ₹76,000 from the Peravurani Branch of a leading public sector bank. The bank repeatedly asked me to repay the loan even after I assured them that I will do so once I get a job. The officials’ behaviour was rude,” said Mr. Prabakaran.
Invested in books
“I used to buy books of foreign authors for my education in IIT Madras. I received a stipend of ₹8,000 from the Ministry of HRD. But it was not sufficient to meet my expenses on education. So I borrowed from my friends. At one point, I had to repay ₹2.5 lakh to my friends,” said Mr. Prabakaran.
The pressure exerted by bank officials to repay the loan was so high that his parents, who were not educated, borrowed money and repaid a portion of the loan.
“I got a good score in GATE. So, I got a job in PSU. But I did not join as I wanted to serve the country as a good IAS officer. I assured that I will repay the money after August,” he said.
But the bank held the ₹10,000 in his account under lien, which he had borrowed from his friend to meet the expenses to attend the Civil Services interview. The bank had apparently used his Aadhaar to trace his other bank account.
Mr. Prabakaran has also been guiding other aspirants in his village to clear competitive examinations.
Bank officials in the Local Head Office in Chennai said the student should have informed the officials in writing about his higher studies within the moratorium period of one year.
“The repayment would not have started had the student informed the officials properly. After three months, the loan will become NPA,” said the official.