Bill to cap interest rate on MFI lending tabled
The Micro Finance Institutions (Development and Regulation) Bill, 2012, which was introduced in the House by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, confers power upon the RBI to fix the maximum interest rates that MFIs can charge and also decide on the fair and reasonable method of loan recovery.
It provides for regulation of activities like micro credit, thrift, pension or insurance services and remittance of funds by micro finance institutions (MFIs).
The Bill, which was drafted in the backdrop of problems faced by borrowers of MFIs in Andhra Pradesh and other states, seeks for compulsory registration of MFIs with the RBI. They should have a minimum net-owned funds of R5 lakh.
“Since these institutions lack a formal statutory framework for providing such micro finance services, it is expedient to provide a statutory framework for the promotion, development, regulation and orderly growth for such MFIs and thereby facilitate financial inclusion,” said the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill.
As per the provisions of the Bill, the RBI can inspect the accounts of the micro lenders and impose monetary penalty for non-compliance of the provisions of the proposed legislation. Besides, MFIs would need prior approval of the RBI to close or restructure their activities. Violation of the provisions of the Bill will attract penalty, which will include two years imprisonment and
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