Though the Indian Finance Minister has announced in the general budget a waiver of agricultural debts incurred by the farmers in the nationalized banks, amounting to a whopping sum of Rs 60,000 crores, there has been an aura of skepticism surrounding the scheme and the people were actually in disbelief in the absence of any concrete steps for the implementation of the scheme announced by the Government.
Putting an end to the speculation, Finance Minister P.Chidambaram on Thursday directed public sector banks (PSBs) to furnish by June 25, the list of farmer beneficiaries pertaining to the farm debt relief scheme so as to ensure that the loan waiver programme, as outlined in the budget is completed by the month-end deadline.
In a video conference with the chiefs of various PSBs, Mr.Chidambaram said, ‘On June 25, we hope to get the list of farmers.’ Setting a timetable for completion of the loan waiver scheme, he said that by June 23, the banks should get themselves satisfied that the process of ‘inspection and superchecks’ in this regard had been completed and a final list of farmers prepared.
To supervise compliance, the Financial Services Secretary Arun Ramanathan has to get in touch with the Chairman of various PSBs the following day.
Clarifying some of the provisions of the revised farm loan waiver programme, Mr.Chidamabaram pointed out that in the case of the investment loans, the interest payable but not serviced as on
The Finance Minister also asked the PSBs to ensure that the certificates and undertakings pertaining to the debt waiver were provided to farmers in their languages.
While announcing the Rs 60,000 crores farm loan waiver programme as a budget package for the current fiscal, Mr.Chidamabaram fixed as the June 30 as the deadline for providing debt relief to about four crore small and marginal farmers.Subsequently to ensure that the farmers in dryland areas could also avail themselves, the relief package benefits, the size of the loan waiver was raised to Rs 71,680 crores.
Though the loan waiver of such a huge sum for farmers is being done by the Indian Government with an eye on the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections in the year 2009, however, undoubtedly it is a scheme providing debt relief to the thousands of farmers with an objective of their upliftment and a thrust towards agriculture.
Again the UPA government should also be given the due credit that from the days of independence, no government has come forward to provide debt relief to the farmers on such a mammoth scale.