Hyderabad: The rabi season throws a big challenge for the farmers who are worried over not receiving the Rythu Bandhu money and the government’s delay in waiving their agricultural loans.
During the Assembly election campaign in 2018, Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao had promised that the Telangana Rashtra Samiti government would waive farmer loans up to Rs 1 lakh in three phases.
It is close to one year since the formation of the second TRS government, but no measures have been taken to start the waiver process. The government has mentioned allotting `6,000 crore for loan waivers during the recent Budget session.
Telangana state has around 44 lakh farmers, who would benefit from the loan waiver. The agriculture and finance departments have estimated that the total loans taken by the farmers amount to about `29,000 crore. Apart from the allotted `6,000 crore, there is no clarity on how many phases the waiver process will involve.The CM had also announced that they would recall the earlier systems of depositing the waiver amount to the banks and issue cheques to the farmers to deposit in the banks. However, the departments concerned have not taken any measures to start the process with the allocated budget.
For the loans under `1 lakh, farmers get the benefit of a waiver of 4 per cent interest, for which the state has to pay `800 crore to the respective banks. As the banks did not receive the waiver money, they are collecting the interest from the farmers.In the recent Assembly session, when opposition parties raised this point, the CM said that if the farmers pay the interest, the government would pay it back to them.
As the rabi season is nearing, farmers are facing difficulties in getting fresh loans from the banks as the pending amounts have not been released yet.
Meanwhile, out of 55 lakh beneficiaries under the Rythu Bandhu scheme for the kharif season, about 14 lakh farmers are yet to receive the money. It is learned that due to the financial crisis, the government has used the funds allocated for the welfare schemes for other purposes. With this, the farmers are worried about whether they would receive the money at all and how to proceed with farming activities.
All India Kisan Sabha president S. Malla Reddy alleged that even after completion of a year since the elections, the state government has not taken any steps toward waiving the loans. "Why would the farmers borrow if they have money? But, the government is asking them to clear the loans and says it will pay them back. With no clarity on when the farmers would receive the cheques, how will they pay the money," he questioned.
“Around 70 per cent of the beneficiaries are marginal farmers. It would be a huge burden for them to go for the renewal of the loans and pay the interest. How would even `6,000 crore be sufficient for the loan waivers and interest waivers,” asked Mr Malla Reddy....