Assam government has rolled out second phase of ambitious AMFIRS Microfinance Loan Waiver Scheme for women. The new scheme namely, Assam Micro Finance Incentive and Relief Scheme 2022 is likely to benefit around 24 lakh women across the state. CM Himanta Biswa Sarma has launched Assam Microfinance Loan Maaf Yojana 2nd phase on 2 January 2022. Chief Minister handed over cheques to 5,024 beneficiaries who are regularly paying installment of micro finance loans.
Assam Micro Finance Incentive and Relief Scheme (AMFIRS) 2022
CM announced the beginning of Assam Micro Finance Incentive and Relief Scheme 2022 (AMFIRS) on 2 Jan 2022. He ceremonially handed over cheques to 5,024 beneficiaries in Gohpur, Behali, Sootea and Biswanath at a programme held in Biswanath Chariali. CM mentioned that “We are able to fulfil our election promise of microfinance loan relief within 8 months from returning to power and the state government will continue to march forward with the same zeal in the future as well.”
Assam Microfinance Loan Maaf Phase 2 Benefits
The Assam Microfinance Loan Maaf Scheme 2022 will benefit 24 lakh women in the state. All the beneficiaries of AMFIRS Microfinance Loan Waiver Scheme will receive a one-time incentive amounting from Rs. 16,000 to Rs. 25,000 each. Under Phase II of Assam Micro Finance Institutions Relief Scheme, a total of 12,590 will receive their cheques in Biswanath district.
New Portal for Women Beneficiaries
CM also informed that a new portal will be opened from next month where those women beneficiaries who have not been able to repay their microfinance loans at all, would be able to register themselves and the state government will help them repay their loans.
AMFIRS Microfinance Loan Waiver Scheme Phase 1 Launch
The chief minister inaugurated the first phase of AMFIRS Microfinance Loan Waiver Scheme for those borrowers, who have been repaying their debt regularly. CM said “They will be provided with a one-time incentive up to Rs. 25,000 or the outstanding balance, whichever is less. This is an incentive for them to maintain good credit discipline. Altogether, 11 lakh women will benefit in this phase of the programme”.
On 29 November and 30 November 2021, beneficiaries of eight districts — Sonitpur, Charaideo, Sivasagar, Jorhat, Majuli, Golaghat, West Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao — are provided with their due incentives through account payee cheques. The Assam Cabinet had on 30 September 2021 approved Rs. 1,800 crore to waive microfinance loans availed by poor women in the first phase.
Assam Microfinance Loan Maaf Scheme Stage 2
In the second stage, benefits of Assam Microfinance Loan Maaf Scheme will be extended to borrowers whose payments are overdue by less than 90 days and loan accounts are not classified as non-performing assets (NPA). The state government will pay the overdue amounts to borrowers in these cases. Borrowers whose accounts have become NPA will be covered in the third phase of Assam Micro Finance Incentive and Relief Scheme 2022. The government will consider providing partial or full relief based on evaluation.
Pre Election Promise for Assam Microfinance Loan Waiver Scheme
During the assembly election campaign in March-April 2021, CM Himanta Biswa Sarma had said all the microfinance loans of women would be waived if the BJP-led coalition returned to power, but after assuming the office he said it was a “political statement, but not a government promise”. The opposition parties had attacked the government for its “U-turn” in waiving the loans as promised by the BJP and said the saffron party has “cheated” the people.
The state government had on August 24 signed an agreement with 38 microfinance institutions and banks for a Rs 12,000-crore AMFIRS. While presenting the state budget for 2021-22, Assam Finance Minister Ajanta Neog had said almost 26 lakh borrowers took loans worth Rs 12,500 crore from various MFIs and the bulk of this portfolio is in rural areas.