The Congress government in Rajasthan has identified a whopping 10 lakh farmers for grant of loans through cooperative banks during the next crop cycle, amid allegations by the Opposition BJP that its “populist measure” of farm-loan waiver had failed to extend the benefit to the eligible agriculturists and led to scams in several districts.
State Cooperative Minister Udai Lal Anjana said here on Saturday that the cooperative debt structure was being strengthened for the benefit of farmers who would get the loans without mortgaging their land. Farmers getting themselves biometrically registered under the scheme would be given preference in the loan disbursement, he said.
The farm loans will be disbursed in two stages during the next crop cycle of kharif season from April 1 to August 31 and rabi season from September 1 to March 31. Mr. Anjana said the loan recipients would also get the benefit of other schemes operated by the Cooperative Department.
The BJP has alleged that the loan waiver scheme, announced by the State government without the Cabinet’s approval, was not clear about the eligible farmers and the process of implementation. BJP State president Madal Lal Saini said the “loan scams” had come to light in several districts, where the loans were picked up in the name of farmers who had never received the amount.
The Congress government had announced loan waiver for farmers up to Rs.2 lakh each, resulting in the burden of an estimated Rs.18,000 crore on the Exchequer, on December 19, 2018, two days after being sworn in. The Congress had promised to tackle agrarian distress during its campaign for the 2018 State Assembly election.
The entire short-term loans taken by small and medium farmers from cooperative and land development banks without any monetary ceiling and the debts up to Rs.2 lakh due on November 30, 2018, for the defaulter farmers who had obtained loans from nationalised, commercial and rural banks was to be waived in the scheme’s first phase.
Registrar of Cooperative Societies Niraj K. Pawan said the farmers who had become members of village cooperative societies several years ago would be among the beneficiaries selected for the crop loan disbursement scheme.