Financial help for 10 mn farmers in four states

October 20th, 2008 - 8:59 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 20 (IANS) Nearly 10 million farmers have been helped out in all 31 suicide-prone districts of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, and Maharashtra, Minister of State for Agriculture Kanti Lal Bhuria informed the Lok Sabha Monday.”In 31 suicide-prone districts of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra, 61,48,000 loan accounts of farmers have been given the benefit of waiver of overdue interest,” he said.

“Rescheduling of loans has been done in 33,71,000 farm loan accounts under the rehabilitation package for farmers.”

The minister said, in addition, 26,729 farmers and 6,17,697 farmers have benefited from subsidiary income activities and extension services respectively as reported by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).

He said the banks have been advised to provide loans to farmers under the farm credit package of 2004 for repaying their debts taken from informal sources including private moneylenders.

“In addition, the banks have been advised to earmark three percent of agricultural credit during 2008-09 for swapping of debt taken by the farmers from informal sources including private moneylenders.”

The Cabinet Oct 8 had decided to continue with a monetary help scheme worth around Rs.170 billion for distressed farmers in suicide-prone areas of four states in the country.

The monetary assistance scheme was launched by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in Sept 2006 for three years in the wake of reports that farmers of Vidarbha region in Maharashtra, distressed by the widespread crop failure and caught in the debt trap of private money lenders, were resorting to suicide in large numbers.

Some of the 31 districts identified as suicide-prone districts for farmers are Wardha, Yevatmal, Amravati, Akola, Buldana and Washim in Maharashtra, East and West Godavari, Nellore, Chittoor and Rangareddy in Andhra Pradesh, Hassan in Karnataka, and Wayanad in Kerala.

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