GUWAHATI: Opposition parties in Assam have criticized BJP-led government for its ‘turn around’ on terms and conditions of waiver of microfinance loans, contrary to campaign promises electoral.
Accusing the BJP of trying to “deceive” the people of Assam, all major political parties in the state, including Congress, AIUDF, Raijor Dal and Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) criticized the minister’s statement from state cabinet Ashok Singhal that “the waiver will come with exceptions and it will not be a general waiver.”
Singhal, who heads a committee tasked with assessing the financial implication resulting from the waiver of the law by microfinance institutions, said on Friday that the waiver would exclude taxpayers, people with multiple loans, people with four-wheeled vehicle and a person whose annual income is more than one lakh. He also said that the loan amount would not be canceled if it was used after December 31, 2020.
Even women members of state self-help groups (SHGs) are not satisfied with loan exemption criteria and have criticized the government for the same. Demanding a complete forgiveness of their loans, they said large numbers of women across the state had not paid the remaining installments since February.
“The chief minister promised during the election campaign that all microfinance loans would be canceled. So why is this not being done. We have since stopped paying installments. If the government decides to write off the loan, why should some of them pay us? Said Barnali Kalita, a woman from Barpeta district. Large numbers of women across the state came out to protest following the statement released by Singhal. “We will not agree with the terms and conditions. Why were these conditions not set before the elections? We will not pay further installments at any cost,” said a protester.
The leader of the opposition in the state assembly, Debabrat Saikia, called on the state government to remove all preconditions and forgo loans to relieve poor women, as this was part of the BJP insurance. “During the election campaign, the BJP promised to renounce the loans. Now the government says the waiver will come with exceptions. This is a complete U-turn. By including different conditions, the government doesn’t want to actually not helping women, ”he said. . AIUDF General Secretary and MP Aminul Islam said the conditions Singhal mentioned were an “act of betrayal” of the poor.
“The BJP launched a cheap policy in the name of microfinance loan relief. Thousands of women were waiting for the waiver, but what the party did to them was nothing but a poll gimmick.” , he added. BJP chief and (now chief minister) Himanta Biswa Sarma during his rallies for the 2021 elections in Assam had vowed to forgo loans. A total amount of Rs 12,500 crore of microfinance loans is currently underway in Assam. In total, 26 lakh clients with 45 lakh bank accounts have taken out loans from 40 lenders.
AJP President Lurinjyoti Gogoi said the government must keep its word on the issue. He said all microfinance loans, no matter how small, should be canceled.



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