Telangana government's conditions on farm loan waiver stirs hornet’s nest

The government’s decision not to extend farm loan waiver scheme benefits to ryots who availed loans before December 9, 2018, has sparked discontent among farmers.
Image used for representational purposes only.
Image used for representational purposes only.(Photo| Express Illustrations)

HYDERABAD : The state government’s recent decision to not extend farm loan waiver scheme benefits to ryots who availed loans before December 9, 2018 has sparked discontent among a section of farmers, who were allegedly excluded by the previous BRS government as well as the current Congress dispensation.

According to some reports, the BRS, when it was in power, did not waive loans of farmers that exceeded Rs 80,000 though it claimed to have waived loans up to Rs 1 lakh. As a result, numerous farmers missed out on full benefits of the loan waiver scheme.

Now, with the government setting a new cut-off date, loans acquired before December 9, 2018 will not be considered for waiver, further disenfranchising farmers whose loans surpassed `80,000 and were not waived by the previous BRS government.

Additionally, the state government’s decision to make ration card mandatory for availing the loan waiver scheme benefits has further complicated the issue. Under this rule, if three members of a same family own two acres of land each only Rs 2 lakh in total will be waived even if they had availed a Rs 2 lakh loan each.

The farming community expressed dissatisfaction over these developments. They feel that the criteria and cut-off date are arbitrary and fail to address the diverse financial difficulties faced by farmers.

Speaking to TNIE, B Kondal Reddy, a state committee member of Rythu Swarajya Vedika, said that a more inclusive and equitable approach that better reflects the needs and realities of the agricultural sector is needed.

He demanded that no farmer be left out while implementing the loan waiver scheme regardless of the cut-off date or ration card criteria.

“When farmers applied for loans, the banks asked them to produce only pattadar passbooks and Aadhaar cards. Ration cards were not required to be produced. Same rule should apply while implementing the loan waiver scheme. Also, new ration cards have not been issued in the last eight to 10 years, and during this period, many families have decentralised,” he said.

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