Tamil Nadu CM E Palaniswami on Friday announced a gold loan waiver, hours before the Election Commission is scheduled to announce the data for assembly polls in the state, which will bring a model code of conduct into place. The state government announced that gold loans against upto six sovereigns by cooperative banks to farmers and poor will be waived.
The announcement comes hours before election Commission would release the poll dates for 4 states and one UT including Tamil Nadu at 4:30 pm on Friday. The Model Code of Conduct (MCC) laid down by the ECI will come into effect once the dates for the elections are announced. To ensure that no new announcements or orders on welfare schemes are issued after election notification, the state’s chief election officer directed all department secretaries to draw a line after the last order in the GO register soon after announcement is made by CEC Sunil Arora.
Loans availed from cooperative societies by pledging jewels upto six sovereigns and pending loans of women members of Self Help Groups in co-op banks and societies would be waived, he said. Representations were made by SHG members that they were not in a position to repay loans taken from cooperative banks and societies in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, Palaniswami said in the Assembly adding they requested loan waiver.
Hence, to provide succour, the pending loans of poor women members of SHGs would be waived, he said in a statement in the House. Presently, “more than one lakh SHGs are functional and in such groups over 15 lakh women are members. A majority of women in such groups belong to poor families that are below the poverty line,” he noted.
Similarly, the poor and ordinary people and agricultural labourers are facing great difficulties in repaying loans secured after pledging jewels, he said. Such loans were taken by them from cooperative societies to tackle financial distress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, he noted.
Though the spread of the virus has declined to an extent, the economy has not recovered fully, he said. Considering the inability of farm labourers and the poor people in repaying jewel loans, representations received from them and the views of economic experts, he said loans availed by pledging jewels, upto six soverigns would be waived.
The goal is lofty, which is to help poor people and “Amma’s government waives jewel loans up to six sovereigns availed from cooperative societies.” The move is to help the poor who borrowed after being hit by the pandemic induced economic slump and could not now clear their dues, he said..
Meanwhile, Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee announced a hike in the wages of daily wage workers under WB Urban Employment Scheme hours before EC announces poll dates for the state.
The revised wages were “Rs 202 per day from Rs 144 for unskilled labour, Rs 303 from Rs 172 for semi-skilled and Rs 404 for skilled labour,” Banerjee said in tweet on Friday.
“A total of 56,500 workers will benefit from this. These wages are in parity with rural workers’ enhanced pay,” she added while announcing the hike in wages. Bengal CM said that the budget provision for this step has been made available for fiscal year 2021 and 2022.