Coronavirus: Ola launches interest-free micro-credit programme for driver partners

Ola announced that it is introducing interest-free micro-credit loans for driver partners through fintech startup Avail Finance to tide over any financial crisis arising out of the coronavirus lockdown.

Bengaluru-based ride hailing unicorn Ola has announced the launch of 'Sahyog', an interest-free micro-credit programme that will help driver partners get instant access to cash in their bank account, to tide over any financial crisis arising due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Working in partnership with fintech startup Avail Finance, Sahyog offers pre-approved credit of Rs 3,600 to be disbursed over three weeks. It aims to impact over 100,000 families of driver partners who are in need of liquidity for immediate household expenses.

All eligible driver partners will be able to access loan amounts of up to Rs 1,200 per week, disbursed over the course of three weeks.

Bhavish Aggarwal, Co-founder, Ola

The credit shall be set off against earnings on the platform over a period upon return of normalcy in business. This micro-credit is available for all Ola driver partners operating autorickshaws, cabs, kaali-peelis, and taxis, across all categories including Ola Auto, Ola Rentals, and Outstation.

Speaking on the initiative, Anand Subramanian, Spokesperson and Head of Communications, Ola, stated, 

The financial well-being of our driver partners and their families in these challenging times is of prime importance to us. There is an immediate need for access to instant cash to pay for household expenses, which they are unable to foot, given the loss of income due to the ongoing lockdown. ‘Sahyog’ enables them to access micro-credit instantly in their registered bank accounts, allowing drivers and their families to tide through these difficult times with much needed liquidity. We are committed to doing everything we can to reduce the economic burden and safeguard the interests of our driver-partners and their families through these unprecedented times.”

Ankush Aggarwal, Founder and CEO of Avail Finance, stated, 

“We are very happy to extend the Avail platform to deliver the ‘Sahyog’ micro-credit solution to Ola driver partners. Avail’s platform will help Ola identify eligible driver partners as well as to manage disbursement of credit in real time. In these times of distress, an instant credit to meet immediate day to day expenses will go a long way in helping hundreds of thousands of families tide through this phase.”

In the past few weeks, Ola has taken several initiatives to help its driver partners and even the society at large during this coronavirus pandemic. It launched a Driver Relief fund, and announced waiving off of the EMIs that drivers need to pay for their vehicles. The ride-hailing unicorn also agreed to give 500 vehicles to the government for transporting doctors, and for other COVID-19 related activities.

(Edited by Evelyn Ratnakumar)