Assam govt inks MoU with MFIs to waive microfinance loans of poor women borrowers

Assam government on August 24 signed MoU with microfinance institutions to provide relief to poor women borrowers who are not able to return the loan amount of these institutions.

The move will facilitate implementation of Assam Micro Finance Incentive and Relief Scheme (AMFIRS), 2021 which intends to help several poor women borrowers who are unable to repay their loans.

The scheme will cost the state treasury Rs 7200 crore while it involves a Rs 12,000-crore credit portfolio.

Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, finance minister Ajanta Neog, agriculture minister Atul Bora, education minister Ranoj Pegu, housing and urban affairs minister Ashok Singhal, WPT&BC minister UG Brahma and chief secretary Jishnu Barua were also present at the MoU signing ceremony.

Altogether 38 MFIs and banks signed the MoU with the state government, which will remain in force till March 31, 2023.

Speaking on the occasion, chief minister Sarma said that the Assam government in its first cabinet meeting formed a committee under the chairmanship of housing and urban affairs minister Ashok Singhal to fulfil its election promise of waiving microfinance loan to provide succour to poor women who are not able to return the loan amount.

“Accordingly, Assam Micro Finance Incentive and Relief Scheme has been devised with an objective to balance long term view of ensuring continuity of micro-finance for supporting economic activities of low income and poor households in the state and providing relief to eligible customers for tiding over current stress in the microfinance sector due to various operational reasons”, the chief minister said.

Stating that upto June, 2021 there were 14 lakh microfinance borrowers in the state, the chief minister informed that the new scheme would involve Rs 12,000 crore credit portfolio, out of which state government would be required to expend around Rs 7,200 crore.

He further said the scheme emphasizes responsible lending by financial institutions through compliance of RBI regulations and industry guidelines in letter and spirit, while promoting responsible borrowing and timely repayment culture among customers.

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