The Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president Ripun Bora has reacted sharply to the alleged U-turn of the BJP-led government’s tall poll promise to waive the micro-finance loan of women debtors in the State.
In the year 2019 when the Congress party had voiced its demand in the Assembly that a law to regulate the various micro-financing institutions that have violated RBI regulations should be implemented but the then Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma did not pay heed to this grave problem at that time. It is only after a lot of pressure from the opposition that a resolution to this effect was passed in the Assembly in 2020.
Now the Committee that has been formed under Minister Ashok Singhal to look into the modalities for loan waiver has put forward various conditions which would not benefit the women debtors at all as expected.
A press communiqué issued by the chairperson of the Media department of APCC Bobbeeta Sharma stated, “The Government has made it mandatory that those women whose family monthly income is less than Rs 1 lakh will be waived and those above Rs 1 lakh will not be able to avail loan waive. Thus those families whose monthly family income is ( 100,000÷12= 8333.34) Rs 8,333 only, will be able to avail of this loan waive facility. But today even if we calculate Rs 300/- as the daily wage of a tea garden worker then except the women tea garden workers none other women will be able to get the loan to waive. If the women tea garden worker’s free essential commodities are added to their daily wage, then they will also be denied the loan waive with this cap of the Government. This means a lot many women who had got trapped in the micro-finance scam would not be able to get out of it because of this condition.”
The condition also extends to those families who have four-wheelers and apprehension is rife among people now that perhaps those who have refrigerators may also not get the loan waiver! But many people buy four-wheelers to make ends meet and many buy refrigerators for shops by taking loans. Some even use micro-finance to pay off EMI’s as stopgap arrangements. Will such families not be included?
The communique also added, “The total micro-finance outstanding loan is Rs12000 crore and a Government that has been floundering on economic front both at the Centre and State made those promises of loan waiver just to get votes from the women of Assam. And the people of Assam once again fell prey to their lies of tall promises by trusting them. Hence the list in the book of lies grows longer day by day.”
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