Thiruvananthapuram: The government on Tuesday announced a series of relief measures for farmers in the state including extension of moratorium on loan recovery proceedings till December 31, 2019.
The decisions were taken at the Cabinet meeting which reviewed the situation in agri sector in detail. As a special measure the government asked the State Debt Relief Commission to consider debt relief for farmers of Wayanad and Idukki districts who had taken loans till August 2018. The two districts had suffered huge losses during the devastating floods.
At the Cabinet briefing, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the moratorium has been extended to all loans taken by farmers from public sector, commercial and cooperative banks. He said the state debt relief commission had relaxed its conditions to a great extent.
The government decision comes close on the heels of reports of eight farmer suicides during the past couple of months.
Apart from the flood affected Idukki and Wayanad, the farmers in the rest of the districts will also benefit from the revised guidelines.
At present for receiving assistance from State Debt Relief Commission, barring Wayanad, the cut off date for all districts is for agri loans taken up to October 31,2011. For Wayanad the cut off date is Mach 31, 2014.
Cabinet decided to extend the cut off date for farmers of Idukki and Wayanad for loans taken up to August 31,2018. For other districts it will be for loans taken till March 31,2014.
The State Debt Relief Commission has also raised the upper limit of assistance from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2 lakh for dues above `50,000.
The Cabinet decided that interest up to nine per cent on loans taken for long term crops like coffee, rubber and coconut will be paid from Chief Minister’s debt relief fund. The benefit is only for a year from the time of taking loan.
The compensation for crop loss has been raised by 100 per cent from the amount fixed four years ago. The revised rates are as follows; arecanut increased to Rs 300 from 150, cocoa and coffee Rs 200 from 100, pepper `200 from Rs 100, nutmeg Rs 800 from Rs 400, clove Rs 400 from `200 and cardamom Rs 25,000 from 18,000 per hectare.
Pinarayi said new relief measures have been announced over and above the special special package announced for Wayanad and Idukki districts and for Kuttanad.
Cabinet decided to release Rs 85 core for destruction of agriculture crops due to natural calamities. Of this amount Rs 54 crore will be granted from Chief Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund.
Agriculture and planning departments have been asked to examine the possibility of bringing commercial banks within the purview of Agriculture Debt Relief Commission....