Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today said the state government will provide one-time assistance to poor people who had availed loans under microfinance schemes and are currently repaying them.
He said the government has decided not to completely waive the loans as that will affect the CIBIL score of the loanees and they may find it difficult to get loans in the future.
Waiving of microfinance loans taken by women was one of the promises made by the BJP ahead of the Assembly elections in Assam this year.
The government had been holding discussions with microfinance institutions that had said the total outstanding loans amounted to Rs 12,500 crore.
Speaking to reporters in Guwahati today, Mr Sarma said that as per Microfinance Institutions Network (MFIN) guidelines, one person cannot be provided a loan of more than Rs 1.25 lakh and there cannot be more than three active loans.
Following our election promise, we're glad to initiate steps for waiving off of micro finance loans of all economically insolvent people & provide eco'c incentives to all beneficiaries who have repaid / repaying their loan amount. This'll not hamper their future loan prospects. pic.twitter.com/wx0mM66r1u— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) June 18, 2021
"All loans above Rs 1.25 lakh has been brought down to the ceiling amount and the fourth loan has been waived off by the banks," he said, adding that the total outstanding loan is now Rs 8,250 crore.
The Chief Minister said only loans availed by the poor will be waived off. He said the loanees have been divided into three categories -- prompt payers, those who have stopped paying after BJP that had promised to waive the loans came to power, and defaulters.
Mr Sarma said the categorisation has been done thinking about the CIBIL score.
"If the government completely waives off the loans, it will make those loans non-performing assets that will impact the CIBIL scores of the loanees and they will not be able to apply for any loan. That's why, without waiving off the loans, the government is providing financial assistance," he said.
While all loans will come down to 1.25 lakh, prompt payees will receive a sizeable amount credited to their accounts in proportion to the sum they are yet to pay, said the Chief Minister. He said those whose payments are overdue will get an amount to pay their overdues besides the one-time relief. The defaulters' loans will be waived off, Mr Sarma said.
Out of the 22 lakh women in Assam who have availed loans under microfinance schemes, about 5 lakh are prompt in repayments, the Chief Minister said.
He assured that henceforth, guidelines of MFIN will be applicable in giving out loans and no agents will harass women who avail loans.