Assam government renounces MFI loans for poor women: CM Himanta Biswa Sarma

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Friday he was determined to keep his election promise to provide relief and incentives to poor women who had taken out loans from various microfinance institutions ( IMF).

The government has had ongoing discussions with MFIs, as a result of which the outstanding loan amount has been reduced to 8,250 crore from 12,500 crore and this will benefit 22 lakh poor and destitute women in the state, the government said. chief minister at a press conference here. .

The outstanding loan has decreased as MFIs have flouted the standards set by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), including granting a loan of more than 1.25 lakh to a group or granting several loans. to one person or group, he said. .

During the discussions, it was decided that any loan amount over 1.25 lakh would be canceled and if there were four outstanding loans against an individual, the principal and interest amount of the fourth loan would be canceled, a said Sarma.

These measures have reduced the outstanding amount and will go a long way in helping poor and needy women.

“I had said in all my electoral meetings, during my campaign for the BJP, that the relief of the loan exemption would be for poor women and not for the middle class or the rich,” he said. declared.

Three groups

The state government decided to classify borrowers into three groups, the first being women who regularly repay loans, he said.

“These women should continue to do so so that their CIBIL score is not affected and the government will reward these quick payers with a one-time incentive,” he said.

The second category includes women who are late, that is, those who paid regularly but are now late because they stopped paying after learning that the loans would be canceled.

“I call on this category of women to resume repayment of their loan and the government will reimburse the overdue amount,” he said.

In the third category are women who do not intend to take out other loans or engage in other activities and the government will provide them with complete relief.

However, women with full waivers will not be able to take out other loans in the future.

In total, 26 lakh clients with 45 lakh bank accounts took loans from 40 lenders with 53 percent of this amount loaned by banks, 22 percent by non-bank financial corporations (NBFC) and microfinance institutions, 26 percent by small funding banks and 16 percent by mainstream NBFCs.

The chief minister decided to set up a committee to study the financial implications of the loan forgiveness during the first cabinet meeting of the new Council of Ministers held on May 11 with the Minister of the Guwahati Development Department, Ashok Singhal. , as President and Principal Secretary of Finance. and Panchayat and Rural Development as members.

The chief minister asked the committee to prepare a package to help the poorest women who had taken out loans and who are facing immense hardship.

It has been decided that only loans taken out before December 31, 2020 and those with a family income of 1 lakh, paying income tax, owning four-wheeled vehicles or any other RBI directive will be taken into account. will not be taken into account. for forgiveness of loans.

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