Orphaned Girl Sent Notice For Home Loan Recovery: Have We Lost All Our Empathy?

The pandemic has already robbed children like Vanisha Pathak of their innocence and childhood, but it is in our hands to make sure that they do not lose their present and future.

Yamini Pustake Bhalerao
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A class eleven student from Bhopal received notices for a home loan recovery worth 29 lakhs, that was taken out by her deceased father. The teen had lost her parents during the deadly second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. She not only took up the role of a caregiver for her younger sibling but also topped in Class 10 CBSE board exams. But it seems her struggles know no end. COVID-19 threw numerous families across the country into a pit of suffering and loss, from which they are yet to emerge. During these tough times, what they need the most is our empathy, but it is as if we do not have any to offer.

The girl, Vanisha Pathak, said that her father was an agent working for Life Insurance Corporation and had taken a home loan from the company. The minor added that LIC as per its rules has blocked all his savings and monthly commissions that he used to receive. (Since they are underage.) Pathak added that she wrote to the authorities several times, requesting them to give her more time so that she could find a way to repay the loan. Let us pause here and go over one of the most basic facts about this incident- this is a 17-year-old school-going girl that we are talking about.

 Vanisha Pathak LIC notice case: Stress added to a child's trauma

Pathak has received multiple legal notices in the name of her father that threatens legal action if the loan is not repaid, as reported by the Times of India. A senior official at the corporation said that the girl's application asking for exemption from repaying the loan has been forwarded to the higher-ups. "Though there was nothing in writing, I had informed the family that they will not get any further notices till the time she completes 18 years of age." But what happens after that? Is she expected to pay off her father's loan? Must she endure the pressure of repayment until she is financially strong enough to do so?

Suggested Reading: Topper Orphaned During COVID Asked To Repay Father's Loan, FM Sitharaman Intervenes


Is it fair to burden a 17-year-old student with such a mighty home loan that she didn't even take out? Can't there be an exception made for Pathak so that she can focus on her studies and caring for herself and her younger brother? Does anyone care what this financial pressure can do to the mind of a young girl, or how it can impact her future choices?

Things could change for Pathak though, as Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recently shared a report on her ordeal on Twitter, tagging LIC. She urged the corporation to look into the matter while also asking for a brief on the current status. We don't know how this will change the corporation's approach to Pathak, but one wishes that it wouldn't have taken news reports and intervention from the Finance Minister for the girl to get relief.

She deserves more than being exempted from receiving legal notices. She deserves security, care and assurance so that she doesn't have to compromise on her career aspiration just to repay this stupendous sum. According to the Women and Child Development Ministry, over 1.5 lakh children lost one or both of their parents or were abandoned during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, a report by Lancet suggests that the number of these children could be as high as 19 lakh. Even if we chose to believe the smaller of the two numbers, the statistics are worrying. There are lakhs of children out there, who have been bereaved by the pandemic. Who is responsible for their care? Who will ensure that they get proper education, nutrition and a roof above their heads?

The pandemic has already robbed children like Pathak of their innocence and childhood, but it is in our hands to make sure that they do not lose their present and future to this deadly disease and our inability to contain the havoc that it wreaked on our lives.

Views expressed are the author's own.

Vanisha Pathak