Guwahati: The much awaited Micro Finance loans waiver scheme for nearly 26 lakh women in the state officially began on Tuesday with Assam government singing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with microfinance institutions (MFI) active in the state.
The loan waiver scheme was one of the prime promises of BJP to come to power in the state. The then BJP candidate Himanta Biswa Sarma also promised that if his government comes to power, loans taken by the women would be waived.
After coming to power, Sarma who became the chief minister initiate the process of waving of the micro finance loans and set up committee to frame the modalities. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has already given its nod to the MoU.
Sarma said, “Those who have been repaying the installments on time will be awarded with maximum Rs 25,000 to repay their loans since they are not defaulters. Those who could not repay the loans at all, the state government will pay for them only if found to be eligible. They have to apply for the waiver and verified.”
The chief minister added that banks will provide relief to those who were given loans by the banks by violating the RBI guidelines.
Fulfilling its promise to waive off micro-finance loans to provide succor to poor women who are not able to return the loan amount, the MOU was signed for implementation of the Assam Micro Finance Incentive and Relief Scheme (AMFIRS), 2021.
Altogether 38 MFIs and Banks signed the MoU with the state government. The MoU shall remain in force till March 31, 2023.
Sarma added that the scheme has been devised with an objective to balance long term view of ensuring continuity of micro-finance for supporting economic activities of low income and poor households in the state. The CM also asked the MFIs and Banks to maintain the Fair Practice Code of RBI while disbursing loans in the future. “Give loans to only those who can repay,” he said.
Altogether Rs 12,500 crore of microfinance loans, comprising both principal and interest, are outstanding in Assam till March 31 last
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