Assam Northeast

Assam Congress demands white paper on Microfinance loan incentives and reliefs

Assam Congress sought a white paper on waiving off of micro-finance loans of poor women debtors by the state government, a day after Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, said the promise of waiver was a “political statement” ahead of Assam Assembly elections 2021.

On Friday, Sarma said since complete waive off of loans will render the microfinance debtors as nonperforming assets (NPA) which may impact their CIBIL score, a credit parameter based on which financial institutions lend money, the state government will provide a one-time incentive to the prompt payers and overdue debtors and complete waiver to only those who are ready to be denoted as NPAs.

Assam Pradesh Congress Committee demanded information on the total number of women debtors, how many women will be able to avail of the loan waive as per the different categories and guidelines subscribed by the Government and how many women will not be able to avail of the loan waive as per their guidelines.

Ahead of Assam Assembly elections 2021, Himanta Biswa Sarma, then Finance Minister had promised to waive off all the loans taken by poor women from Micro finances, a poll plank that gave the BJP party major impetus in the elections.

However, last Friday, Sarma said, the waiver was a “political statement” ahead of the elections that he had made as a “BJP leader” and most debtors, without banking on his promises, are already paying off their instalments regularly.

Assam Pradesh Congress condemned the Friday statement as a matter of “breach of trust” and said, “The CM had not only made the loan waiver an attractive electoral promise but even after taking charge as Chief Minister had also announced in the Assembly that he will see to it that all loans are waived, that their promises to the innocent women will be followed word by word.”

Sarma on Friday said that after talks with MFIs and banks the total microloan outstandings worth Rs 12,500 crore has been trimmed down to Rs 8250 crore after the loans above Rs 1.25 lakh has been capped down to the ceiling amount and the fourth active loan to an individual, that was not in accordance with RBI norms.

The chief minister said that there was a loan of roughly Rs 600 Crore where interest rates were charged over 2.5 percent and this loan amount was wiped out. “As per our estimate, the state government will have to spend close to Rs 5000 to Rs 6000 Crore for the assistance and relief in the loan waiver. Within two weeks the whole thing will be finalised.”

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