The State Bank of India on Monday decided to waive the loans of 23 Central Reserve Police Force personnel who were killed in a suicide bombing in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district on February 14. At least 40 soldiers were killed in the attack, and five injured.
“23 soldiers had availed loans from SBI and the bank has decided to waive off all the outstanding loans with immediate effect,” SBI said in a statement according to PTI.
All 23 soldiers were the bank’s customers under its defence salary package. Under this scheme, the bank provides Rs 30 lakh as insurance to each jawan. The government-owned bank has expedited the release of this insurance money to the kin of the deceased soldiers.
The bank also appealed to its employees to voluntarily contribute towards supporting the soldiers’ families through the government’s Bharat Ke Veer website. The bank has created a Unified Payments Interface to facilitate these transactions.
“It is extremely distressing and disturbing to witness the loss of lives of the soldiers who always stand for the safety of our country,” SBI Chairperson Rajnish Kumar said. “In this moment of grief, our sincere thoughts are with the families of our brave hearts. These initiatives by the bank are a small gesture towards the families who have faced irreparable loss.”
Ties between India and Pakistan have deteriorated after the attack on February 14. Extremist group Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing.