KCR under pressure to implement loan waiver promises

The Sub-Committee headed by Agriculture Minister Pocharam Srinivas Reddy had held a series of meetings in the past few days.

By P S Jayaram

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Published: Wed 24 Sep 2014, 9:57 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 3:06 AM

Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, who, like his Andhra Pradesh counterpart N Chandrababu Naidu, is under pressure to implement the election promise of waiver of crop loans taken by farmers, held discussions on Monday with the Cabinet Sub-Committee looking into the issue.

The Sub-Committee headed by Agriculture Minister Pocharam Srinivas Reddy had held a series of meetings in the past few days. The meeting with the chief minister was to apprise him of the developments and the views that had emerged at these meetings, sources said, adding that Irrigation Minister T Harish Rao and Principal Secretary (Agriculture) Poonam Malakondaiah, who also participated in the meeting, explained various aspects of the issue to KCR, as the chief minister is known.

The loan waiver scheme, one of the major poll promises made by the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) during the election campaign in May this year, is estimated to be in the region of Rs 190 billion. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is not inclined to concede to the state administration’s request for rescheduling of the crop loans, forcing the TRS government to look into other avenues for implementation of the promise. The sources said KCR was expected to make a policy statement on the crop loan issue in a couple of days amid indications that the TRS government was mulling announcement of a combination of cash payment totally amounting to Rs 50 billion and issuing promissory notes to the banks for the remaining loan amount.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet Sub-Committee on the farm loan waiver said that verification of records pertaining to crop loans revealed that institutional credit to the tune of about Rs 10 billion was taken by bogus farmers using fake pattadar passbooks in connivance with officials of the Revenue Department.

Srinivas Reddy, speaking to the media after the meeting, said there was clarity, following examination of the records, on crop loans amounting to Rs 160 billion availed by about 3.6 million farmers in the state. “The TRS government is committed to implement the crop loan waiver scheme by September 30 to facilitate farmers avail fresh farm loans and crop insurance coverage,” he said.

Stating that the chief minister would take a decision on the mode of adjustment of payment to bankers, the minister said the delay in implementation of the scheme was mainly due to complex process of examination of crop loan records and their cross-verification at the village level. An announcement would be made soon as the process of verification had been completed, he said.

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