Chandigarh, January 2—Mrs Kiran Choudhry, Leader of the Haryana Congress Legislature Party, has asked the BJP Government, led by the Chief Minister, Mr Manohar Lal Khattar, to impress upon the Central Government to extend the benefit of interest waiver for two months to the loans taken by the farmers for rabi sowing from scheduled commercial banks also. This should be done if the sops announced by the Prime Minister on New Year-eve, are to have any meaning.
In a statement issued here today, the former excise and taxation minister said the concession covered only such loans as taken by the farmers from district cooperative banks and primary agriculture cooperative societies. Since more than 70 per cent of farm loans are given by the scheduled commercial banks, this would benefit only a handful of farmers, not the farming community.
“If the farming families in Haryana are to be reached out with a helping hand, the Khattar Government should either take up with the Centre to extend the waiver to all loans, including those taken from banks, or should, at its own level, announce the waiver. Also, the two-month extension for crop loan repayment should be extended to at least six months”, she demanded.
Referring to the release of additional Rs 20,000 crore to NABARD to improve access of farmers to credit, she said that the decision sadly glossed over the fact that more than 40 per cent of the farmers were out of the ambit of institutional credit mechanism. It would mean virtually nothing, Mrs Choudhry added.