HindustanTimes Mon,22 Dec 2014

Setback for farmers as Rajasthan govt scraps interest-free loans

Mukesh Mathrani , Hindustan Times  Jaipur, August 12, 2014
First Published: 15:49 IST(12/8/2014) | Last Updated: 15:59 IST(12/8/2014)

The Vasundhara Raje-led BJP government has scrapped the previous Congress regime’s interest-free loan facility for farmers, official sources said, sending a shock wave across the farming community in the state.

The government has reportedly made it clear that farmers will be charged 4 percent interest on farm loans, waived by the Gehlot government in 2012, in the current financial year.

However, the ‘conditional’ relaxation of 3 percent interest by the Centre continues.

Cooperative societies and mini banks are providing farm loans up to Rs. 1.5 lakh at the interest rate of 7 percent to farmers for both Rabi and Kharif crops.

The previous UPA government announced relaxation of 3 percent interest to farmers on the condition that the loan is repaid in six months.

Following the move, farmers were required to pay only 4 percent interest, as the remaining was to be borne by the Union government.

Later, the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government announced one percent relaxation in the agri loan and said the state government will bear one percent interest burden.

Taking a step further, in July 2012, Gehlot announced the complete interest-free loans to farmers, which was considered as a big support for the community.

Now, though the Narendra Modi government has continued with the 3 percent interest relaxation on farm loans, the Raje government in Rajasthan has scrapped the 4 percent interest waiver extended by it.

Barmer Central Cooperative Bank managing director Bhanwar Singh confirmed the state government’s latest decision, and said the bank had earlier provided 100 percent interest free loan to farmers.

The move has come as a setback for majority of farmers.

“We were hoping for more facilities from the new government, but this has disturbed us,” said Nandram Mali, a farmer.

The opposition Congress too has attacked the government on the issue. Congress district vice-president YD Joshi accused the BJP of being anti-people and betraying the people.

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