GUWAHATI: There will be no blanket waiver of microfinance loans in the state, said Ashok Singhal, chairperson of the committee on microfinance loan waiver set up by the Assam government on Friday.
Though chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had reiterated that his government would waive the loans taken by lakhs of poor women in the state as a relief to them, the committee in its first public statement said that it has suggested a capping of amount of loans to be waived.
The committee has categorised the microfinance loans in the state under good and bad loans. He said loans that were granted by violating Reserve Bank of India (RBI) guidelines would be considered as ‘bad’ loans.
Singhal said, “If RBI guidelines were followed, then the government won’t have intervened but it was found that huge numbers of loans were given by violating the RBI guidelines. A total loan amount of Rs 12500 Crore loan amount including principal amount and interest is outstanding till March 31.”
The committee has found that there were 26 lakh beneficiaries in Assam and loans were granted against 45 lakh bank accounts.
“Since the loan amount is high, we are contemplating a capping of loan amounts to be waived. It’s yet to be decided how much of the loan amount that the government will waive off. We are not thinking about a blanket waiver of loans,” he added.
Initial findings indicated that a loan amount of around Rs 5000 crore out of the total was allotted in the state by violating RBI guidelines. The committee yet to decide what will happen to such ‘illegal’ loans and who would repay them. He said, “Since the poor, illiterate women are not aware of RBI guidelines, the banks are responsible.”