Ease lending norms for artisans, weavers: Amit Mitra to FM Sitharaman

Former West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra has asked the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to make norms for bank lending easier for small-scale weavers and artisans and other similar workers, citing the high rate of rejection for such loan applications in the state.

In a letter to Sitharaman, dated January 9, Mitra said of 15,928 weavers from West Bengal who applied for loans from April-September 2022, around 10,108 had their applications rejected, even though their applications had been vetted by the District Industries Centres (DIC). That is a rejection rate of 66 per cent, according to Mitra, who is currently advisor to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, and holds a cabinet rank.

For artisans from West Bengal, Mitra said, of 48,153 applications, 29,656 were rejected in the same period, a rejection rate of 62 per cent. In both the cases, all the applic­ants were holders of artisan and weaver credit cards, he said. “Such stringent norms (by the Centre and RBI) are divorced from the ground reality of mini-micro enter­prises that are crying out for financial inclusion,” he said.

Highly placed sources told Business Standard that the number of loans sanctioned in West Bengal between April and November under Artisan Credit Card and Weavers Credit Card were 10,617 and 3,404, respectively, and admitted that the rejections under the schemes have been on higher side. The reasons for the rejection included low CIBIL score or accounts already declared as non-performing assets, higher delinquency ratio, non-availability of trade licences, adverse business verification reports, among others.

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