December 5, 2021

Assam introduces Bill to protect people from high-interest money lending firms

GUWAHATI: The Assam government on Monday introduced a Bill in the Assembly seeking to protect economically vulnerable groups and individuals from the hardship of usurious interest rates and coercive means of recovery by microfinance institutions or money lending agencies.

Tabling The Assam Micro Finance Institutions (Regulation of Money Lending) Bill, 2020, on the first day of the Winter Session of the Assembly, Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that it proposes “to create an effective mechanism to regulate the microfinance institutions or money lending agencies or organisations”.

On December 13, the Assam Cabinet had approved the proposal to reign in the microfinance entities that mostly give loans to women self-help groups (SHG) at high rates.

“The proposal to bring in a new Act to control the microfinance units was passed. They have to operate as per Reserve Bank of India”s norms and should not be able to levy any rate on consumers, who are mostly women SHGs from villages,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary had said.

Sarma also tabled another Bill for helping those taxpayers who could not avail the benefits or comply with a liquidation scheme due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,

The Assam Taxation (Liquidation of Arrear Dues)(Second Amendment) Bill, 2020 seeks to extend the time limit of availing benefits of the liquidation scheme to March 31, 2021 from July 31, 2020.

“It will help a taxpayer clear all outstanding dues in respect of amounts assessed for the periods up to 30th June, 2017 and levied against him on or before 30th September, 2020,” Sarma said.

Patowary, on behalf of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, also introduced The Assam Tea Plantations Provident Fund and Pension Fund and Deposit Linked Insurance Fund Scheme (Amendment) Bill, 2020 which proposes to increase the benefits of tea plantation workers. (PTI)

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