Farm waiver only for bank loans: Pawar

April 21st, 2008 - 8:42 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 21 (IANS) The $600 billion farm loan waiver announced in the budget for 2008-09 will be applicable only to loans taken from banks and not to debts from moneylenders, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar told the Lok Sabha Monday. “Those who took loans from moneylenders will not be covered by the farm loan waiver scheme. Some states and sections have asked for this but we would first strive to implement the proposal made in the 2008-09 budget,” Pawar told the lower house of parliament in reply to a supplementary question by Gurudas Dasgupta of the Communist Party of India (CPI).

This was a clear indication that the government has rejected the request made by Congress MP Rahul Gandhi in the Lok Sabha a few days after the budget presentation that relief also be given to those farmers who had taken loans from moneylenders.

Pawar said the first priority of the government was to provide relief to the small and marginal farmers, who constituted the majority in the farm sector. They will benefit from the loan waivers of Rs 500 billion and the additional Rs 100 billion meant for the settlement scheme of other farmers, he said.

The minister said the government was concerned about implementing the promise made in the budget and meeting the deadline of June 30 set for it. “New responsibilities” would be thought of once this is done.

On another question whether those farmers enjoying irrigation facilities would be included in the beneficiaries, Pawar said all those having land holding of up to two hectares would benefit, including the irrigated and the non-irrigated landholders.

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