As promised in its election manifesto for the gathering, the Bharatiya Janata-led government in Assam signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with 38 microfinance institutions and banks on Tuesday to waive loans from poor women in the state.
The signing of the MoU will lead to the implementation of the Assam Micro Finance Incentive and Relief Scheme, 2021, previously prepared by the government and benefiting nearly 1.4 million borrowers.
On that occasion, Prime Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the plan would become one ₹12,000 crore loan portfolio, of which approx. ₹7,200 crore are to be spent by the government.
“The aid program will ensure the continuity of microfinance in support of the economic activities of poor households and help eligible clients overcome stress in the microfinance sector for a variety of operational reasons,” he said.
Sarma said the program emphasizes responsible lending by financial institutions in accordance with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and industry regulations verbally and in writing, while promoting responsible borrowing and a timely repayment culture.
CM said all eligible borrowers can borrow up to. take up ₹1.25 lakhs of up to 3 lenders under the program and those with a track record of regular loan repayments will receive a one-time incentive equal to their outstanding balance, capped at ₹25,000.
Likewise, the state government pays the overdue amount for borrowers whose repayments to banks are overdue but do not fall into the non-performing assets (NPA) category.
Additionally, borrowers whose accounts have become NPAs must apply for a lender verified and certified format. The government will then consider partial or full discharge based on a detailed assessment, the rule suggests.