The Telegraph
Thursday , September 14 , 2017

Loan waived: Rs 27

Lucknow, Sept. 13: Princely sums such as Rs 27 and Rs 42 are being written off in the name of farm loan waiver in Uttar Pradesh.

Roop Chandra of Mirzapur in southern Uttar Pradesh has received a loan waiver certificate of Rs 27 from Rajesh Agrawal, the state finance minister, against his loan of Rs 18,000. Laxman Singh of the same district was exempt from paying Rs 42 out of the Rs 1 lakh he had borrowed.

The picture changes a bit in Hamirpur. Allegations have been levelled that out of the 12,460 beneficiaries so far, over 4,000 farmers had already repaid their loans but were given certificates showing amounts ranging from Rs 10 to Rs 200.

The BJP government headed by Yogi Adityanath had rolled out the loan waiver scheme - a pre-poll promise - with fanfare although banks had warned that it would trigger a similar clamour in other states and play havoc with the books of the banks.

Asked about the measly amounts, minister Agrawal responded with a question: "We have also given loan waiver certificates of bigger amounts to the farmers. Why are you looking at the smallest amounts?"

Two reasons are being cited for the low waiver amounts. One, some farmers have refused to grease the palms of lekhpals or revenue officials who carry out on-the-spot verifications.

If the officials are not kept in good humour, it is alleged that they will fudge data to settle scores with the farmers. However, for this to translate into certificates with low amounts, collusion of bank officials is also needed.

A bank official offered a straitlaced reason. "Some had paid their loans but some interest was due. It is the responsibility of the bank to waive even Rs 10," said Raj Kumar Pandey, manager of the Allahabad Bank branch in Hamirpur.

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