The Congress pre-poll assurance of omitting agricultural loans, at the point when converted into a figure, turns out to be Rs. 62,931 crore. The way ahead for the state government could be a debt relief in place of debt waiver.
As a three-member expert group managed by Dr T Haque (Chairman, Punjab agriculture expert group), gets prepared to meet on Friday. The state government and the State-Level Bankers’ Committee are prepared with the enormous figures concerning the range of farm loan.
The agricultural loan in Punjab is Rs 77,684 crores. Out of which Rs 14,753 crore is the “Term advance”.This means the “Working Capital Loan” is Rs 62,931 crore, utilized by 30.23 lakh farmers. The debt extended through Kisan Credit Cards is Rs 54,521 crore. The amount of loan used from arhtiyas is still unknown.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has started a debt swap scheme. In this swap machine, farmers can swap upto Rs. 1 lakh of debt raised from an arhtiya by availing a loan from a bank. Every year, 3 per cent of the agricultural credit is to be delegated for the scheme.
In Punjab, Only 47 per cent of the target (Rs 718.75 crore of debt was swapped) could be attained till December 2016.
Official sources say bankers have informed that the only way forward for the state government is to take over the whole debt and clear dues of the banks. But the uncertain health of the Punjab’s economy does not allow the state to take over such a enormous debt burden — with the state’s tremendous public debt already more than Rs 1.78 lakh crore.
Sources say Punjab could acquire the plan of debt relief similar to the one declared by UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath though the limit of debt relief would be much greater than in Uttar Pradesh.