Microfinance loans: Assam cabinet categorises borrowers


GUWAHATI: In a cabinet meeting chaired by Assam chief minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma on Thursday, decision was taken to categorise microfinance loan borrowers. 

The cabinet categorised women who had taken microfinance loans into three groups and approved incentives for repaying the advances. The first group comprises women who are regularly repaying the loans. The second category comprises those who have an overdue as they stopped repaying after they heard about a possible waiver. In the third category, are women borrowers who have sought full loan waiver, and they will not be able to take further loans in future. The Cabinet meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, approved the financial incentives to be given to the first two categories for continuing to pay their loans and to provide full loan relief to the third category, government spokesman and Water Resources Minister Pijush Hazarika told reporters here.

The microfinance incentives will benefit 22 lakh women, out of the 26 lakh, who have taken loans from 40 lenders. The chief minister had decided to set up a committee to study the financial implications of waiving the loans in the first cabinet meeting of the new Council of Ministers held on May 11 with Guwahati Development Department Minister Ashok Singhal as the Chairman Sarma had directed the committee to prepare a package to provide relief to the maximum poor women who had taken loans and are facing immense miseries. Regarding the acquisition of private land by oil companies like OIL, ONGC, and others, the Cabinet decided that they will have to pay a minimum of Rs 12 lakh per bigha of land within a 10 km radius of the town, and Rs 10 lakh per bigha beyond 10 km radius of the town.

The Cabinet also decided that in the case of payment of compensation to the families of the victims of man-elephant conflict, the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest cum Head of Forest Force (PCCF cum HOFF) is empowered to take decisions as per the recommendation of the Divisional Forest Officer. From now, no file on such matters is required to be sent by the PCCF to the Forest and Environment Department, Hazarika said. As part of administrative reform, the Cabinet empowered the Deputy Commissioners to allot land for government institutions in rural areas based on recommendations of Land Acquisition Committees. Accordingly, no file on such matters is required to be sent by the Deputy Commissioners to the Revenue Department, he said.

The Cabinet also decided to appoint Home Guard Borsing Bay, who refused a huge amount of cash as a bribe from drug dealers and helped recover drugs valued at Rs 12 crore, as a constable in Assam Police.

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