Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday launched a new-self-employment scheme- Mukhyamantri Atmanirbhar Asom Abhijan which is designed to empower the state’s youth. The scheme will provide financial assistance with the aim of fostering entrepreneurship and promoting self-sufficiency and self-employment.
At an event in Guwahati, Assam, CM Sarma also said that at least 2.2 lakh women borrowers who could not repay their microfinance loans will get relief under the state government’s initiative. He added that his government has fulfilled an ambitious election promise made two years ago during the Assembly polls in Assam.
He added, “A section of the media also claimed that we have backtracked on our earlier poll promises. I want to make it clear that we have been fulfilling all our promises. Those loans which had become non-performing as of March 31, 2021, will get reliefs.”
The state government is giving out a total of Rs 291 crore as compensation to the lenders (Microfinance Institutions) under the Assam Microfinance Incentive and Relief Scheme. This move is expected to benefit a total of around 2.2 lakh women borrowers from across the state.
With the levy of the loans, the concerned microfinance institutions also have to issue no-due certificates to the borrowers for clearing their loans.
This step comes after the Nari Shakri Vandan Adhiniyam, the Women’s Reservation Bill was passed in both houses of Parliament during the special session which concluded on September 22.
While speaking to the media, Assam CM said that the state is adopting a unique journey, whatever they promised during the last election, now are being implemented 100 per cent. “Today, microfinance loans waivered to almost 2.5 Lakhs mothers…and also making them creditworthy is a historical step which we have adopted today. I am very happy…we’re delivering all our promises…we are almost scoring 100% in all our promises,” he added.
Notably, the state government signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in August 2021 with 38 microfinance institutions and banks to compensate and waive off micro-finance loans taken by economically weaker women in the state. The MoU was under the Assam Micro Finance Incentive and Relief Scheme (AMFIRS) 2021. Under the scheme, borrowers repaying regularly with zero days past due will be given a one-time incentive to the extent of their outstanding balance, subject to a cap of Rs 25,000.
The government will pay the entire amount on behalf of all the borrowers whose loans are overdue.