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What You Should Know / January 17, 2012 -- More than 80 people have taken their own lives in the last few months after defaulting on micro-loans, according to the government. This has triggered the worst ever crisis in India's booming micro-finance industry. Scenting votes, opposition politicians have encouraged borrowers to halt repayments - micro-finance companies have given out 80bn rupees ($2bn; £1.3bn) of loans in Andhra Pradesh. Banks, in turn, have stopped lending to micro-finance companies and fear they may not recover some $4bn in loans. "Multiple lending, over-indebtedness, coercive recovery practices and unseemly enrichment by promoters and senior executives [of micro-credit companies] has led to this situation," says Vijay Mahajan, chairman of India's Microfinance Institutions Network.

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