THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a major relief to farmers, the moratorium on agricultural and farmers’ loans has been extended till December 31. A high-level meeting between Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the State Level Bankers Committee (SLBC) on Wednesday decided to freeze revenue recovery proceedings on farmers’ loans.
Another major decision taken during Wednesday’s meeting is to set up district-level sub-committees to look into arrears on farmers’ loans. Now, no revenue-recovery actions will be initiated against farmers without the clearance of these sub-committees which will have bank and agriculture officials as members, Agriculture Minister V S Sunil Kumar told Express.
As per the decisions taken on Wednesday, the moratorium on agriculture loans and loans taken by those with farming as their sole source of income will continue till December end. There won’t be revenue recovery proceedings on restructured loans.As far as the other loans are concerned, the banks can decide on extending the moratorium. A state level sub-committee of SLBC will take a call on giving fresh loans or renewing the existing loans.
With the moratorium on agriculture and farmers’ loans ending on July 31 and no green signal from the Reserve Bank of India on extending it, the last cabinet meeting had decided to convene a high-level meet to address the issue following widespread concerns among farmers.
The government recently decided to extend the moratorium on all loans taken by farmers, including non-agricultural loans, from July 31 to December end. Though the SLBC had in-principle agreed to the decision, it did not implement it, as there was no favourable response from the RBI.
Earlier, the RBI made it clear that the SLBC could take a decision on extending the repayment of loans, following which the state government put forth the demand before the bankers committee. Farmers across the state, especially those in Idukki and Wayanad, have been in deep crisis after the 2018 floods.
With farmers unable to pay back the loans, the government had declared a moratorium on loans.