Congress demands waiver of crops loans in single take

Hyderabad: Former minister and ex-Leader of Opposition in Telangana Legislative Council Mohammed Ali Shabbir demanded that the State Government waive of crop loans in a single take and not split them into four instalments like it did in the past.

Shabbir Ali, in a media statement on Wednesday, said that the guidelines for Crop Loan Waiver Scheme issued by the State Government on Tuesday were not comprehensive and promises no major relief for farmers.

He said that the government plans to waive off outstanding loans up to Rs. 25,000 in the 1st phase and for remaining farmers, it proposes to waive off the amount in four instalments.

“TRS Govt is repeating the mistake it committed while waiving off crop loans in the past. Crop loans of nearly Rs. 17,000 Crore were waived off in four instalments and it did not benefit the farmers. They faced harassment from the banks continuously for four years and even after loan waiver, they could not get rid themselves off their debts. The present outstanding crop loans of nearly Rs. 25,000 crore clearly shows that the previous loan waiver scheme has failed to deliver the desired results,” he said.

The Congress leader said that the National Institute of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj has come out with interesting findings after doing a research study ‘Agrarian Distress, Coping Mechanism & Ramifications of Debt Waiver Scheme (A Study in Telangana State). He said the report, in its conclusion, stated that, “Majority of the farmers i.e., 80 per cent of Small and Marginal Farmer (SMF) and 67 per cent of Medium and Large Farmer (LMF) felt that the debt waiver scheme would have been beneficial to them, had it been a onetime settlement.

Otherwise the instalment that is being released is only serving the purpose of rescheduling the loans without any provision for crop investment.

Therefore, they were not completely sure about the point that the debt waiver scheme implemented in the State was beneficial to them. Surprisingly around 11 per cent of SMF and 25 per cent of LMF felt that very little relief was provided to them keeping in view of their total debts.”

Shabbir Ali said based on the previous experience, the State Government should consider waiving off the crop loans in a single take. Else, he said a mechanism should be worked out wherein all eligible farmers should be given ‘No Dues Certificate’ on immediate basis. State Govt should take guarantee of the payment and relieve farmers completely. They should be eligible to get fresh loans and all their documents and gold must be released by the banks, he demanded.

The Congress leader said that Finance Minister T. Harish Rao in his budget speech for 2020-21 admitted that only 583,916 farmers have crop loans below Rs. 25,000 and they could be waived off with an amount of Rs. 1,198 Crore. This will benefit only 16% of nearly 36 lakh eligible farmers and only 4.8% of the outstanding loan amount could be waived off.

Therefore, he said that the State Government, in consultation with the banks, should come up with a comprehensive package wherein it should completely lift off the loan burden from the farmers by directly making the payment to the banks.

Shabbir Ali also demanded that the State Government fix a clear cut deadline for implementing the crop loan waiver scheme. He said that the TRS had promised to waive off crop loans up to Rs. 1 lakh in its election manifesto for December 2018 Assembly elections. Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao, while presenting Vote on Account Budget in February 2019, had promised to allocate Rs. 6,000 Cr for the purpose. Again in September 2019, Rs. 6,000 Cr were promised in the Budget 2019-20, but nothing was done.

Finance Minister Harish Rao, in the budget speech for 2020-21 on March 8 allocated Rs. 6,225 Cr as first instalment for Rs. 24,738 Cr crop loans. He also assured that Rs. 1,198 Crore to waive off loans below Rs. 25,000 for 5.83 lakh farmers would be spent in this month itself, he said.

“It took nearly 15-16 months for the TRS Govt to take the first step to fulfill the promise. In view of the ongoing economic crisis, there is still no guarantee that the scheme would be implemented as promised.

Therefore, TRS Government should announce a clear deadline by which all the eligible farmers would be freed from the burden of crop loans,” he said.


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