Guwahati: Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) President and Rajya MP Ripun Bora on Sunday slammed the CM Himanta Biswa Sarma-led BJP government over poll promise to waive the micro-finance loan of women debtors in Assam.
Reacting sharply against the present state BJP government, Bora claimed that earlier, the BJP had made a U-Turn on the increase of daily wage of the tea garden workers and now they are doing the same with the women of Assam who had voted for the BJP in the hope that good days will come as the then Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had himself made the promise through various platforms during the election.
In a press statement, the Congress stated that in the year 2019, when Congress party had voiced its demand in the Assembly that a law to regulate the various micro-financing institutions that have violated RBI regulations should be implemented but the then Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma did not pay heed to this grave problem at that time. It is only after a lot of pressure from the opposition that a resolution to this effect was passed in the Assembly in 2020.
“Now the Committee that has been formed under Minister Ashok Singhal to look into the modalities for loan waiver has put forward various conditions which would not benefit the women debtors at all as expected,” said Ripun Bora.
The Government has made it mandatory that those women whose family monthly income is less than Rs 1 lakh will be waived and those above Rs 1 lakh will not be able to avail loan waive. Thus those families whose monthly family income is ( 100,000÷12= 8333.34) Rs 8,333 only , they will be able to avail of this loan waive facility. But today even if we calculate Rs 300/- as daily wage of a tea garden worker then excepting the women tea garden workers none other women will be able to get the loan waive. If the women tea garden workers free essential commodities is added to their daily wage, then they will also be denied the loan waive with this cap of the Government. This means a lot many women who had got trapped in the micro-finance scam would not be able to get out of it because of this condition, Bora claimed.
The condition also extends to those families who have four wheelers and apprehension is rife among people now that perhaps those who have refrigerators may also not get the loan waiver ! But many people buy four wheelers to make ends meet and many buy refrigerators for shops by taking loans. Some even use micro-finance to pay off EMI’s as stop gap arrangements. Will such families not be included? Bora questioned.
He went further saying, “Now there is another condition that Government will only waive loans of those micro-financing institutions that have followed RBI guidelines. Now the question arises how many such micro-financing institutions that follow RBI guidelines actually exist? And if such institutions are actually flourishing under the very nose of the Government what was the BJP Government doing all these years? Do they know what rate of interest the financial institutions were charging? By allowing these financial institutions to illegally make profit by flouting RBI guidelines what did the Government gain? Has it been reflected upon?”
Furthermore, Bora alleged that the total micro-finance outstanding loan is Rs12000 crore and a Government that has been floundering on the economic front both at the Centre and State made those promises of loan waiver just to get votes from the women of Assam. And the people of Assam once again fell prey to their lies of tall promises by trusting them. Hence the list in the book of lies grows longer day by day.
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