Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman intervened today when the heartbreaking story of a Covid orphan being harassed by loan brokers for recovery of a debt left behind by her father surfaced, and instructed officials to check into the case.
According to reports, Vanisha Pathak, the Bhopal topper who wrote the poem “I’ll stand strong without you, Papa” after getting 99.8% in her Class X board barely months after losing both her parents to Covid, is now facing with legal notices on a home loan her father took out.
However, Sitaraman, the finance minister, took notice of the situation and shared the report on Twitter, tagging the Department of Financial Services and LIC India, and requesting an update on the situation. Social media users who have been pleading for support for the orphans are now hoping that authorities will grant Vanisha and her younger brother some concrete relief.
Jeetendra Pathak, her father, was a LIC representative who had borrowed money from the company. Vanisha’s savings and commissions have been frozen by LIC since he is a minor. Vanisha informed the media that she had written to the authorities multiple times asking for more time to repay the debt because she is currently unemployed 17 but that there was ‘silence from the other end’.
According to the article, local LIC officials confirmed her application had been sent to the central office, but Vanisha said she had not received any notification.
She started receiving legal notices in her father’s name, warning her to pay the bills or face legal action. She received the final legal notice to repay Rs 29 lakh on February 2, 2022.
During the terrible second wave in May 2021, Vanisha’s parents died of Covid. According to the article, she glanced at her small brother and realised she had to push through her shock and suffering, eventually scoring close to a perfect 100 on her Class X board.
“My father was a member of the prestigious insurance club Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT). In May of 2021, both my father, Jeetendra Pathak, and mother, Seema Pathak, died of Covid. My 11-year-old brother Vivan and I are both minors and orphans from the Covid family. All of my father’s policies and monthly commissions were not able to be withdrawn because we were under the age of 18. We don’t have any income because all of the economic and financial sources are shut down. As a result, I will be able to return all of my bills once I become 18,’ Vanisha wrote in her letter.
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According to the article, LIC had not even responded to her letter. Prof Ashok Sharma, her maternal uncle, who is currently caring for the children, stated that he lacked the financial means to repay the loan. ‘Jeetendra was a big-name LIC representative, and it was expected that LIC would reciprocate. He informed the journalists, “We have not received anything in writing from LIC indicating that they have evaluated our plea.”
Meanwhile, when approached by the magazine after the intervane sitaraman finance minister’s request, LIC officials stated Vanisha’s request had been conveyed to the higher-ups at the central offices. “He was my representative.” Vanisha’s uncle submitted an application, which I transmitted to the appropriate authorities. LIC’s development officer Sanjay Barnwal was cited as saying, “I had informed the family that they will not receive any additional notices until she completes her 18th year of age, despite the fact that there was nothing in writing.”