Farmer loan waiver scheme coming to a close amid sea of complaints
As the state government inches close to winding up the much hyped scheme that actually proposed to spend a sum of ₹36,000 crore, official figures reveal that only a sum of about ₹21,000 crore has been spent on waiving crop loans of debt ridden farmers across Uttar Pradesh.
Though an additional sum of about ₹950 crore to waive crop loans of about 1.38 lakh more farmers, who lodged complaints, has been released this week, questions are being raised over implementation of the scheme following complaints that many genuine farmers have been denied the waiver.
“A lot of genuine farmers have been left out in most of the districts. In many cases the banks have ignored the claims of farmers. We had requested the state government to consider crop loan waiver even for the farmers who have paid the loan amount. The government has failed to do so and a large chunk of money remains unused due to a poor monitoring mechanism,” said Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait.
According to sources dealing with the implementation of the scheme, the state government had received nearly 11 lakh complaints on the website of the scheme and through other channels. A district level committee headed by respective district magistrate has reviewed all the complaints. If senior officers are to be believed, only those related to 1.38 lakh farmers were found genuine. “In many cases the farmers prefer to reach out to the ministers, government officers or legislators instead of getting in touch with the banks of district magistrates. A sum of about ₹4000 crore has been earmarked in the annual budget for 2018-2019 as well to provide funds for the crop loan waiver,” said another officer adding, “the government will have to take a call on extending the last date (April 15, 2018) for receiving the complaints from uncovered farmers.”
The Yogi Adityanath government had begun implementing the scheme to waive crop loans of up to ₹1 lakh of small and marginal farmers in October 2017. Soon, there were complaints that loans of only ₹1 to ₹500 was waived in about 11000 cases in different districts.
Asked about the total funds released and the number of beneficiaries now, principal secretaries, agriculture, Amit Mohan Prasad said, “A sum of about ₹20600 crore has been disbursed to different banks to waive loan of about 34.11 lakh farmers across the state.”
As most of the banks have joined the government one time settlement (OTS) scheme launched to write off the non performing assets (NPAs) of farmers, the government is also moving towards writing off all the NPAs linked to the farmers. A sum of ₹149.83 crore to write off the NPAs was released on March 31, 2018. “Two banks have joined the scheme late and we hope to release funds to write off their NPAs linked to famers soon,” said Prasad.