K. Chandrasekhar Rao approves crop loan waiver scheme

It was decided to clear the entire Rs 17,000 crore arrears to banks in four instalments

Hyderabad: Initiating the TRS government’s major electoral promise of waiver of crop loans up to Rs 1 lakh each for 36 lakh farmers in the state, Telangana state Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao on Monday approved disbursal of the first instalment of Rs 4,250 crore to bankers to clear loan arrears.

Mr Rao also approved waiver of total crop loans amounting to nearly Rs 17,000 crore availed during 2013-14 and the first instalment amounting to 25 per cent of total arrears.

It was decided to clear the entire Rs 17,000 crore arrears to banks in four instalments.

With this, banks have agreed to issue fresh loans to farmers for the ongoing kharif season ending on September 30. Farmers were saved from being declared ‘defaulters’ after September 30.

The government was under tremendous pressure from farmers to waive the loans at the earliest since the banks were refusing to grant them fresh loans in the ensuing kharif season, which is set to end in a week. While farmers took to the streets dem-anding waiver of loans as promised in the TRS election manifesto, the government also came under fire from Opposition parties for its failure in doing so.

The government has been struggling to implement the scheme ever since it assumed charge on June 2, 2014, with RBI refusing waiver or rescheduling of loans unless the government clears the existing arrears of farmers.

The government was in a hurry to take the decision to pay Rs 4,250 crore to bankers on Monday initially, as the deadline for issuing fresh kharif loans ends on September 30 and if it misses the deadline all the existing loan accounts will be ter-med as ‘bad loans’ and farmers will be termed ‘defaulters’ and they would not be eligible for fresh loans for the ensuing rabi season.

Moreover, farmers would be forced to pay 14 per cent interest on these arrears after September 30 with penalty besides losing crop insurance facility.

Now, farmers will be eligible for seven per cent interest on loans for ongoing kharif. Of this, the Centre will bear four per cent and state government, three per cent resulting in ‘zero per cent’ interest on loans for farmers.

TRS plenary in October
The ruling TRS is planning to organise the party’s first plenary session on October 11 and October 12 in the state capital. This will be the party’s first major event after storming to power in the state.

According to a press release issued on Monday, Chief Minister and TRS president K. Chandrasekhar Rao will address a public meeting at the Secunderabad Parade grounds on the concluding day of the plenary.

( Source : dc correspondent )
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