July 18, 2017 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Chandigarh: The debt waiver scheme announced by Amarinder Singh headed Punjab government turned out to be a ‘dead horse’ .With the huge fall in loan recovery, cooperative banks in the state will not be able to get any re-finance from NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development) and thus give loan to farmers.
Its a catch-22 situation for the farmers as on the other hand farmers who refuse to repay loans will become ineligible for future loans for defaulting on payment. Also, they will be forced to take loans from private moneylenders/arhtiyas at fanatically high rates of interest, reads the media reports.
After carefully retrospecting the situation in which they are the state farmers have decided to up their ante against the Congress government. At least seven farmers’ unions — BKU (Ekta Ugrahan), BKU (Dakonda), BKU (Krantikari), Kirti Kisan Union, Krantikari Kisan Union, Kisan Sangharsh Committee, and Kisan Sangharsh Committee (Azad) — have called for a protest rally in Barnala next month.
“Farmers, especially those who maintain a good credit culture, get an interest subvention of 3 per cent and avail loans at a 4 per cent rate of interest from banks. With these farmers now becoming ineligible for fresh loans because of default in payment, they will be forced to take loans from private moneylenders at 18-24 per cent,” Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan of BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) reportedly said.
Currently, the state government is still looking at ways and means to deal with the crisis. A Rs 3,600-crore crop loan is yet to be recovered from small and marginal farmers. It is this recovered amount that is paid back to NABARD, which then refinances cooperative banks for the next crop cycle. The government is worried as it has to keep the banking sector afloat, reads a quote from a report published in an English vernacular.
While interacting with the media Punjab’s Finance Minister Manpreet Badal stated that the government would bail out the banks, but it remains to be seen how it does that. The recovery of district cooperative banks has fallen by 30 per cent because of demonetisation and promised debt waiver.
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