NEWS

Some Farmers Received 'Loan Waivers' Of Less Than A Rupee From UP Government

One woman's nine paise 'debt' was waived.

13/09/2017 12:20 PM IST | Updated 13/09/2017 12:35 PM IST
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The Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath (L) gives a certificate to a farmer to clear her loans under the Uttar Pradesh government Fasal Rin Mochan Yojana (Farm Loan Waiver Scheme) in Allahabad on September 6, 2017.

Keeping with chief minister Adityanath's poll promise, the Uttar Pradesh government has started distributing loan waiver certificates to farmers across the state. As the first phase got underway, a lot of farmers were part-amused, part-confused at the certificates handed over to them. According to a report in The Times Of India, a woman who claims she had paid off the ₹1.5 lakh loan on her Kisan Credit Card was given a certificate which stated that that government had waived nine paise she owed the bank.

The report states that there are several others like Bijnor's Baliya Devi who got the nine paise waiver. Some people reported that the government waived debts they weren't even aware they had -- worth anything between 84 paise to two rupees.

"According to government figures, of the 22,000 farmers in Bijnor who benefited from the waiver, 880, or more than 4%, had amounts lower than ₹500," the TOI report states.

Approximately 86 lakh farmers are supposed to benefit from the state's loan waiver schemes. The government had announced that they will waive up to ₹1 lakh on farmer loans drawn on the Kisan Credit Cards.

"According to government figures, of the 22,000 farmers in Bijnor who benefited from the waiver, 880, or more than 4%, had amounts lower than ₹500."TOI report

Hindustan Times mentions one Ishwar Dayal of Bhartana who received a waiver of 19 paise, as well as others who got waivers of ₹1.94 and ₹2.

While some of these farmers were merely bewildered, others were taken aback--some of them owed much higher amounts to the bank but their "waiver" was only for nominal amounts.

Hindustan Times spoke to one Munni Lal of Maudaha, who said he was shocked to receive a certificate that claimed ₹10.37 has been waived in regard to his loan. "I fall in the category of small and marginal farmer... I was expecting that the government would clear ₹1 lakh against my outstanding of ₹1.55 lakh on Kisan credit card," he told the newspaper.

A bank officer for Bijnor district clarified that banks were asked to submit details of all the debts they had and they did, even if the 'debts' were as little as 9 paise. He told TOI, "Several eligible farmers had very small amounts outstanding in the records, sometimes a few paise. Their names were included because that was the procedure. It is a normal process."

However, opposition parties and some farmers have alleged that this is merely a political ploy to notch up numbers and show that the government has waived the loans of several thousands of farmers, when they have actually waived loans of a less number of people than they intend to claim.

State agriculture minister Surya Pratap Sahi countered this allegation by saying there have been several farmers who have had loans of ₹90,000, which were waived. "Where is the surprise if the government has distributed the certificate to a farmer waiving ₹100 or even less if that is the amount the farmer actually owed to the bank? After all, we cannot make his dues bigger or smaller," he told Hindustan Times.

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