Assam Opp parties decry microfinance panel’s “conditions” on loan waiver
Opposition parties in Assam have slammed the BJP-led government for “deviating from its pre-poll promise and instead citing conditions to waive microfinance loans, thereby betraying the trust of the people.”
Assam minister Ashok Singhal, who heads the microfinance waiver committee, on Friday, informed that any loan availed after December 31, 2020 would not be waived. The panel further suggested that the waiver would not cover income taxpayers, persons availing multiple loans, person having four wheelers and any person whose annual income is over one lakh.
Reacting sharply to the development, Assam Jatiya Parishad reminded the BJP-led state government about the party’s ‘election promise to waive the microfinance loans taken by all women in the state.
“During the election rallies, Himanta Biswa Sarma assured that the microfinance loans would be waived if the BJP returned to power. Now that it has regained power, the BJP-led government should keep its promise and provide succour to the people by waiving the microfinance loans unconditionally,” AJP president Lurinjyoti Gogoi said.
He further urged the BJP-led government “not to play with the emotions of the people who had bestowed their trust on the party’s pre-poll promise.”
Congress MLA and Leader of the Opposition in Assam Legislative Assembly, Debabrata Saikia alleged that several micro finance institutions, particularly in Upper Assam, had provided loans to people without adhering to RBI guidelines, thereby putting the lives of people at stake.
“Besides, we also do not have any idea about the utilisation of the Rs 500-crore Micro-entrepreneurs Support Fund by the state government,” Saikia said, adding that the conditions set by the committee only indicates that the “BJP had made the election promise only to garner votes.”
In the same vein, All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) spokesperson, Aminul Islam alleged that the committee’s conditions only indicated that the “BJP is actually indulging in cheap politics in the name of providing relief from the burden of microfinance loans. The terms set by the Singhal-led committee will only benefit a section of people only.”
“Lakhs of economically disadvantaged women were anticipating the waiver based on the BJP’s pre-poll promise… but now the micro-finance waiver committee’s conditions have poured cold water on their hopes and expectations,” Islam said.
(Edited by Christopher Gatphoh)
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