Rs 987-cr debt waiver for punjab farmers
RS 987-CR DEBT WAIVER FOR PUNJAB FARMERS
Chandigarh June 28:
Rs 986.82 crore for nearly 3, 32,872 farmers- This would be the share of Punjab in the massive Rs 71,600 crore agriculture debt-waiver scheme announced by UPA government.
The amount comes to just above 1% of the total kitty and has Punjab government miffed at having been left out of the Centre's largesse ''despite pooling in the maximum foodgrains to the nation's foodstock,'' as one senior official put it.
In contrast, neighbouring Haryana, the second largest contributor to the nation's food basket, will have 3% of the share with loans worth Rs 2108.46 crore being waived. Haryana also became the first state to announce the exact scale of waivers under the farm loan waiver scheme. As many as 6,64,675 loans will be waived and eligible farmers will now be entitled to avail fresh loans from banks across the state.
The small and marginal farmers, for whom 100% debt has been waived, number 3,82,402 of the total of 6,64,675 eligible farmers. The total amount waived off in this category will be Rs 1,43,635.75 lakh. For the remaining 2,82,676 farmers, who are entitled to 25% loan waiver, approximately Rs 67,211.96 lakh would be written off.
In Punjab, chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh held a meeting on Friday to review the plan, wherein it was informed that loan amounting to Rs 634.56 crore for the 1,79,160 small and marginal farmers would be waived off apart from 1,53,712 other farmers who would get relief worth Rs 352.62 crore. All the nationalized and cooperative banks have identified the beneficiaries and the lists have been put up on the notice boards of each branch. ''Every bank has been asked to waive the debt by June 30, 2008 positively,'' informed the CS.
Punjab is, meanwhile, planning to register a formal protest with the Union government, saying its farmers have been left out of the scheme ''just because they did not give up efforts to pay off their loans. Many took further loans from non-institutional sources to pay off the bank loans, that is why indebtedness remains in the state, though the slate looks clean on the institutional loans side,'' a senior official revealed.
Meanwhile, congratulating farmers, Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda said, "Waiver of debt is really a vote of thanks and gratitude to our farmers from an indebted nation and more so, to the farmers of Haryana who continue to contribute record volumes to the nation's foodstock." Any eligible farmer who finds his or her name missing from the list can apply at the nearest bank branch, he added.
A break-up of lists compiled by various institutions across Haryana includes: HARCO Bank (Haryana Cooperative Apex Bank Ltd): Short-term loan: Number of accounts: 4,24,056; Amount: Rs 1113.32 crore Commercial banks (25 nationalized and 10 public sector banks): Number of accounts: 1,35,664; Amount: Rs 558.51 crore Regional rural banks: Number of accounts: 22,228; Amount: Rs 137.44 crore; HSCARD (Haryana State Cooperative Agricultural and Rural Development Bank): Long-term loan: Number of accounts: 82,727; Amount: Rs 299.19 crore.