Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Government on Wednesday decided to write off farm loan debts up to Rs 2 lakh taken from agricultural cooperative banks by bringing them within the purview of the Agricultural Debt Relief Commission.
The Cabinet move had come in the wake of RBI’s cold response to the State-Level Bankers Committee’s recommendation to extend the loan repayment moratorium.
The Cabinet raised the ceiling of farm loan debt waiver from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2 lakh under the Debt Relief Commission in accordance with its budgetary support to farmers in distress. There have also been persistent public and Opposition demand to extend relief to farmers who suffered heavily in last August floods.
The Agricultural Debt Relief Commission comprising bureaucrats and experts will visit villages and receive petitions from debt-ridden farmers. The commission caters to small farmers with annual income less than Rs 2 lakh.
The 2018 floods devastated the farm sector, resulting in a loss of Rs 3,646.4 crore. The government's move to increase the ceiling of farm debt waive-off amount to Rs 2 lakh was announced in March, but deferred once the Code of Conduct kicked in for the Lok Sabha elections in May.
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala had alleged in the Assembly that 18 farmers had committed suicides in the last 18 months, weighed down by debts. 2,961 people had to face recovery from cooperative banks....