Farm loan waiver scheme a ‘remarkable success’, says Chidambaram

July 1st, 2008 - 2:52 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of P. Chidambaram

New Delhi, July 1 (IANS) Finance Minister P. Chidambaram Tuesday said the government’s loan waiver scheme has met with “remarkable and unprecedented success” giving relief to 40 million families in the country. “Many critics had doubts about the success of the scheme but we have successfully completed the most ambitious programme of the government,” Chidambaram said after inaugurating 101 online branches of the public sector State Bank of India (SBI) here.

“Not a single complaint was received from the 17,479 branches of public sector banks across the country about implementation of the loan waiver scheme,” he said.

“Imagine not a single crime is reported from 1,000 police stations, and then we can take pride in the law and order situation,” the finance minister added.

Chidambaram had said June 16 in Bangalore that the state-run banks would waive off farm loans by June 30, as outlined in his budget speech February 29.

“The banks will implement the farm loan waiver scheme by this month-end. The process is on,” he had said, adding: “The scheme is under implementation by the public sector, regional rural and cooperative banks. The beneficiaries have been identified.”

In his budget speech, the finance minister set a June 30 deadline for writing off bank loans to small and marginal farmers with land holdings up to three hectares.

In May, the size of the scheme was increased to Rs.716.8 billion ($17 billion) from the Rs.600 billion set initially. The waiver will enable beneficiaries to get fresh loans for the kharif season.

Chidambaram Saturday in Delhi asked the heads of state-run banks to complete the process by Monday so that farmers could secure fresh loans.

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