Centre urged to provide debt swapping loans to eligible farmers
The State Commission for Debt Relief has urged the Centre to provide debt swapping loans to all needy farmers in the State as per the master directions of the Reserve Bank of India enabling them to clear their private loans.
The government should take steps to provide increased amount of crop loans to all farmers to reduce their dependency on private money lenders. Steps should be taken to consider farming activity on par with MSME as it is providing employment to more than 50% of the population and provide loans up to ₹4 lakh without insisting on security.
Commission chairman Nagurla Venkateshwarlu addressed separate letters to Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman urging the Centre to fulfil the promise of doubling farmers income by 2022. He was responding to National Statistics 77th Report which stated that most of the farming community was forced to depend on the mercy of private lenders who were charging exorbitant interest due to non-availability of loans.
The survey claimed that 57.5% of Telangana farmers did not avail institutional finance and on an average each farmer in the State was ridden with loan of ₹1.52 lakh. He recalled that the government had addressed letters in the past highlighting some of the major concerns faced by farmers. Banks were not providing required loans to eligible farmers due to which they were forced to depend on private money lenders/pawn brokers with high rate of interest.
This was resulting in their falling into debt trap and leading to suicidal deaths due to pressure from the money lenders and their incompetency to clear the private loans. In view of this, the Finance Ministry should instruct banks in Telangana to consider debt swapping loans and other measures as suggested by the Commission.