GUWAHATI: The Assam government on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with 38 microfinance institutions (MFI) and banks to give relief to poor women borrowers.
Waving off the microfinance loans of women was a poll promise of the ruling BJP.
“With a view to providing succour to poor women borrowers who are not able to return the loan amount of MFIs, the Finance Department of the Government of Assam signed an MoU with MFIs for implementation of Assam Micro Finance Incentive and Relief Scheme (AMFIRS), 2021…” an official statement said.
Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who was present, described the MoU as historic.
“Borrowers who have been repaying regularly with Zero Days Past Due will be provided a one-time incentive to the extent of their outstanding balance, subject to a cap of Rs 25K. The state government will pay the overdue amount for accounts which are overdue but not NPA,” Sarma tweeted.
He further wrote: “Borrowers who are stressed, destitute & whose accounts have become NPA will need to apply through a format verified & certified by the lender. Govt will consider providing partial relief or full relief based on the detailed evaluation.”
Stating that up to June, 2021, there were 14 lakh microfinance borrowers in the state, he said the new scheme would involve Rs 12,000 crore credit portfolio, out of which the state government would be required to expend around Rs 7,200 crore.
Detailing the MoU provisions, the CM said relief under the scheme shall be extended to all borrowers to the extent of loans from up to 3 lenders and for loan amounts of up to Rs 1.25 lakh only. To become eligible for the scheme, the borrowers will have to fulfill eligibility or non-eligibility conditions as laid down in the guidelines, he said.
The CM said many people in the state were stressed by private money lenders. Keeping this in view, the state government decided to promote borrowing through MFI and banks which carry out their operations strictly adhering to RBI guidelines.
Sarma urged the MFIs and the banks to maintain fair practice code of the RBI while disbursing loans in the future. At the same time, he called upon the people to ensure judicious utilization of borrowed money.