12: Jammu and Kashmir government has
quietly suspended much hyped Artisans Credit Card (ACC) scheme after interest
subsidy liability crossed Rs 60 crore.
National Conference- Congress government in September 2012, ACC was touted as
game changer to economically uplift artisans and rid the handicrafts sector of
the middleman menace.
Under the scheme,
artisans were eligible for a loan of Rs 90,000 after getting registration cards
from the Handicrafts department. Artisans were also entitled for an interest
subsidy of 12 per cent. Under the scheme, artisans were supposed to pay monthly
installments while the government was to take care of interest component.
Sources said, the
state government had released Rs 42 crore for the scheme but it was not enough
to cover the interest component. Facing
funds crunch, the government failed to clear subsidy liability till it jumped
to Rs 60 crore.
subsidy amount was released by the government, it was not enough to meet
requirements. Sponsorship of cases too has been put on hold till subsidy
liability is cleared,” said an officer.
Kashmir Artisans Forum, Parvez Ahmad Bhat blamed government for failing to come
to the rescue of artisans.
floods, artisans were expecting loan waiver. Commitments were made to make ACC
at par with Kisan Credit Card (KCC). Even government promised debt relief,
which too didn’t happen,” he said.
Bhat said the
scheme has proved a white elephant for the artisans. “Only some could repay the loans while many
suffered after failing to pay the installments,” he said.
Director, Department of Handicrafts, Mushtaq Ahmad Shah told The Kashmir
Monitor that 50 per cent of interest subsidy liability will be cleared this
“Rest 50 percent
will be cleared subsequently. By the end of December we are expecting a good
relief for the artisans. The scheme will be re-launched to benefit the
artisans,” he said.
Shah said that
many beneficiaries failed to file premiums and with the result their accounts
have become Non-Performing Assets (NPA).