Taking another giant leap forward towards fulfilment of promises made during campaigning for the 2021 State Assembly elections, Sarma on Saturday attended as Chief Guest the ceremonial distribution of relief under “Category – III” of the Assam Microfinance Incentive & Relief Scheme (AMFIRS) 2021.
Borrowers whose accounts had turned non-performing asset (NPA) as on March 31, 2021 and having outstanding principal amount upto ₹25,000 are deemed to be eligible for benefits of Category – III of AMFIRS 2021.
The State government is shelling out a total of ₹291 crore as compensation to the lenders (microfinance institutions) and this move is expected to benefit a total of around 2.2 lakh borrowers from across the State. In return, the concerned microfinance institutions shall issue “no due certificate” to the borrowers, thus making the latter credit-worthy again under the formal financial system.
Sarma expressed happiness at the prospect of as many as 2.2 lakh female microfinance and bank loan borrowers again becoming credit-worthy through the Category – III relief launched today.
Referring to the Assam Microfinance Incentive & Relief Scheme as a first of its kind in the country, Sarma said its main objective was to provide relief to eligible borrowers who had availed small loans from microfinance institutions and the formal banking system but owing to certain circumstances, they couldn’t repay the borrowed amount in full.Expressing his gratitude towards the microfinance institutions for agreeing to waive of around ₹300 crore in interest income for the sake of successful implementation of Category – III relief measures, Sarma appealed to the beneficiaries of the scheme to ensure from now onwards any amount borrowed from financial lenders are repaid in full and on time. Providing the scheme’s beneficiaries with “no due certificate” would also aid in the process of universal financial inclusion.Sarma further said the primary reasons behind the default in loan repayment can be said to be the Covid-19 pandemic scenario and the anti-CAA movement. Now that the pandemic period and days of strife have been left behind, it is important a healthy credit habit is built up in the State, the Chief Minister added.
Sarma, referring to recent media reports alleging the State government back-tracking on its promises to provide relief to microfinance loan defaulters, put the record straight by making it clear that only those loans which had become non-performing as on March 31, 2021 shall be eligible for coverage under AMFIRS 2021.