Assam government signs pact with microfinance companies to waive loans from women borrowers


Guwahati, Aug 24 (PTI) On its way to fulfilling an election promise, the government of Assam on Tuesday signed an agreement with microfinance companies for a loan exemption program of Rs 12,000 crore, which will benefit several thousand thousand women borrowers.

The Ministry of Finance of the Government of Assam signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) to implement the Assam Microfinance Incentive and Assistance Program (AMFIRS), 2021 , according to an official statement.

“In total, 38 MFIs and banks have signed the memorandum of understanding with the state government, which will remain in effect until March 31, 2023,” he added.

There were 14 lakh microfinance borrowers in the state until June of this year and the new program will involve a loan portfolio of 12,000 crore rupees, on which the state government will need to spend around 7,200 crore. Rupees, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said during the MoU. signature function.

The program was designed with the aim of balancing the long-term vision of ensuring the continuity of microfinance to support the economic activities of low-income and poor households and of relieving eligible clients to overcome the current stress in the microfinance sector for various operational reasons, ”he added.

Sarma said the program emphasizes responsible lending from financial institutions through adhering to RBI regulations and industry guidelines in letter and spirit, while promoting responsible borrowing and the culture of on-time repayment. timely among customers.

During the presentation of the state budget for 2021-2022, the Minister of Finance of Assam, Ajanta Neog, said that nearly 26 lakh borrowers had taken out loans worth Rs 12,500 crore from various MFIs and that most of this portfolio was in rural areas.

With microfinance lenders following the mandatory code of fair practices, an amount of over Rs 4,000 crore will begin to flow directly to borrowers from lenders and almost immediately benefit thousands of lakhs from those borrowers, she said. .

Speaking of the terms of the MoU, Sarma said the relief will be extended to all borrowers for loans of up to three lenders and for a loan amount of up to Rs 1.25 lakh only.

“Under the program, borrowers who regularly repay ‘zero days late’ will receive a one-time incentive for their outstanding balance, subject to a ceiling of Rs 25,000.

Likewise, borrowers with overdue payments, ie overdue accounts but not the NPA, the state government will pay the overdue amount. All such borrowers will be encouraged to make payments. staggered so that their accounts remain standard and the credit culture is strengthened, ”he added.

The Chief Minister said that the government, after observing these borrowers for a period of time, as can be decided with mutual consultations on a case-by-case basis, will make a one-time incentive payment of 25,000 rupees or equal to the outstanding balance. , whichever is less. .

“In addition, stressed, destitute borrowers whose accounts have become NPA will need to apply through a format verified and certified by the lender. The government will consider providing partial or full relief based on a detailed assessment,” he added.

Sarma also said that many people in the state are stressed by private lenders and that is why the state government has decided to promote borrowing through MFIs and banks which operate in strict accordance with guidelines. of the RBI.

Major MFIs and banks that have signed the MoU include Microfinance Institutions Network, North East Small Finance Bank, Association of Small Finance Bank of India, Nightingale Finvest, Grameen Development and Finance, North East Micro Finance Association, Bandhan Bank, Arohan Financial Services, HDFC Banque, Fusion Microfinance, L&T Financial Services and Asirvad Microfinance.

Sarma during the Assembly election campaign in March-April this year announced that all loans given to women by MFIs would be canceled if the BJP-led coalition retained power, but after taking office he said the pledge was a “political statement, but not a government pledge.”

Opposition parties including Congress, AIUDF, Raijor Dal, CPI (M), Assam Jatiya Parishad and BPF attacked the government for its “about-face” by canceling loans as promised by the BJP and said the Saffron Party had “deceived” people. PTI TR


Disclaimer: – This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI

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