Farm loan waiver scheme kicks off in Jharkhand, 9 lakh farmers to benefit

Farm loan waiver scheme kicks off in Jharkhand, 9 lakh farmers to benefit

Molindra Besra, 45, became Jharkhand’s first farmer to receive the benefit of JMM-led government’s ambitious farm loan waiver scheme.

Out of total ₹91,693.26 loan burden on him, the state government has waived ₹50,000 of the total burden. He will now have to pay remaining ₹41,639.26 to the bank, officials said on Tuesday.

Besra, a resident of Tarabahal village in Karmatand block of Jamtara district, said, “I had taken a loan for mustard and vegetable cultivation around two years back. However, the majority of the crops had got damaged due to drought. The loan had turned a very big burden on me, as I have to feed my family of six.”

“I feel lucky that the government’s loan waiver scheme came at a time when I needed it badly. Now, I have to work hard to repay the rest of the amount to the bank,” he added.

Chief minister Hemant Soren on December 29, on the occasion of one-year of his government, had officially announced the farm loan waiver scheme. In the first phase, the government has decided to waive farm loans up to ₹50,000. The state government expects the initiative would benefit around nine lakh farmers.

State agriculture minister Badal Patralekh said, “We have formally started the process of farm loan waiver benefit to farmers from Monday. One farmer was given the benefit as token disbursement. Now, we have to ensure that the benefit reaches the last farmer in the state.”

State agriculture director Nisha Oraon Singhmar said, “The department has set a target to disburse at least ₹1,000 crore by the end of March. Since the entire process is almost online, technical glitches partially delayed the launching.”

She said, “We have identified nine lakh farmers under the loan waiver scheme. However, six lakh farmers have seeded their Aadhaar with banks. The process of Aadhaar seeding of rest three lakh farmers has been started.”

However, the benefit will go to only those farmers who have taken loan before March 31, 2020 and have an Aadhar card. To get the benefit, farmers are going through a strict scrutiny.

As per the process, the bank will upload the data of eligible farmers in batches which will be available for public view. With this, farmers will get SMS asking them to submit their loan details at nearest Pragya Kendra (common service centre) or to banking correspondents. If their loan details are found to be genuine, the farmers will have to furnish mobile number and ration card details.

Under the scheme, only one loan in a family will be waived. If there are three farmers in a family, only one farmer will get the waiver, officials said.

“The ration card details will be checked with PDS (public distribution system) data. Once it is found genuine, the farmer will be called for e-KYC. In the third step, eligible farmers will be asked to deposit Re 1. Then, district will issue a fund generate order, which will come to the director for final verification. The director will submit it in a system where every detail is checked through software. When the system finds it okay, the director will ask the nodal bank officer for disbursement,” Singhmar said.

The Hemant Soren government had proposed ₹2,000 crore in budget for the current financial year (2020-21) for the waiver. State cabinet on December 24 had taken the decision of farm loan waiver, partly fulfilling the promise made by the ruling coalition ahead of the 2019 assembly elections.

The ruling alliance had promised to waive farm loans of up to ₹2 lakh, ahead of the assembly elections last year, if voted to power. The farmers would be charged a service of Re 1 against the farm loan waiver.

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