The Assam government on Monday
introduced a bill to the assembly aimed at protecting economically vulnerable groups and individuals from the difficulties of usurious interest rates and coercive means of collection by microfinance institutions or money lending agencies.
Introducing the Assam Microfinance Institutions (Money Lending Regulation) Bill 2020 on the first day of the assembly’s winter session, Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that he proposes “to create an effective mechanism to regulate micro-finance institutions or money lending agencies or organizations”.
On December 13, the Assam cabinet approved the proposal to rule over micro-finance entities that mainly lend loans to women’s self-help groups (SHGs) at high rates.
“The proposal to introduce a new law to control microfinance units has been adopted. They must operate in accordance with Reserve Bank of India standards and should not be able to charge rates on consumers, who are mostly women from village SHGs, ”said Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary.
Sarma has also introduced another bill to help taxpayers who have not been able to take advantage of the benefits or comply with a liquidation scheme due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,
The Assam Taxation (Arrears Clearance) Bill 2020 (Second Amendment) aims to extend the period for enjoying the benefits of the liquidation regime from March 31, 2021 to July 31, 2020.
“This will help a taxpayer to settle any unpaid assessments relating to amounts assessed for periods up to June 30, 2017 and levied against him by September 30, 2020,” Sarma said.
Patowary, on behalf of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, also introduced the Assam Tea Plantation Provident and Retirement Fund and Deposit Insurance Scheme (Amendment) Bill 2020, which proposes to increase the benefits of tea plantation workers.
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