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Arunachal Pradesh to provide zero interest Crop Loan to Marginal Farmers of the state

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Farmers in the field (representative Image), Wikimedia

Itanagar, May 22, 2017: The Arunachal Pradesh government has decided to provide zero interest crop loan to marginal farmers of the state to enable them easy access to formal credit through banking channels, an official said on Monday.

According to a Finance Department notification of May 7, 2017, the government has decided to launch “Chief Minister’s Krishi Rinn Yojana”, under which it would provide interest subvention of 4 per cent on crop loan/Kisan Credit Card (KCC) limit up to Rs 3 lakh sanctioned by all banks to all farmers of the state during the current financial year.

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This interest subvention will be over and above the subvention given by the central government to banks and the farmers as per policy issued by the Reserve Bank of India and NABARD.

“The farmers would also get interest relief at the rate of 3 per cent per annum if they promptly repay their short-term production credit (crop Loan) within one year of disbursement of such loan. In effect, farmers who take loan up to Rs 3 lakh and make timely repayments will get access to zero interest credit facility,” the official said.

The NABARD will act as channel partner for reimbursement to banks against interest subvention amount claims.

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A certificate of area and crop being cultivated issued by circle officer will be accepted as valid documents by banks for issuance of Kisan Credit Card to the farmers, the notification said.

Benefit under the scheme will be extended to farmers availing KCC/crop production loan from commercial banks, APRB and APSCAB Ltd at the same terms and conditions prescribed by the RBI/ NABARD.

Chief Minister Pema Khandu has set a target of 7,500 farmers to be covered under the Chief Minister’s Krishi Rinn Yojana in this financial year.

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The district-wise or bank-wise target will be circulated separately to all District Collectors and concerned banks. This target will be reviewed later and any bank which fails to meet the stipulated target would be reported to the RBI and Department of Financial Services, he said.

Moreover, the circle officers will function as Financial Extension Officers of the state government and also help the banks in timely recovery of crop loans. (IANS)

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With The Elections Coming Up, Indian Government Promises Farmers Their Income Support

The government said the fiscal deficit this year will rise from 3.3 percent to 3.4 percent due to the outlay for the income scheme for farmers.

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Farmers, India
An Indian woman helps her farmer husband irrigate a paddy field using a traditional system, on the outskirts of Gauhati, India, Feb. 1, 2019. VOA

With an eye on wooing voters ahead of what is expected to be a tough national election, India’s Hindu nationalist government announced cash handouts of billions of dollars for poor farmers.

In the annual budget presented in parliament Friday, interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said 120 million farmers with less than two hectares of land would get an income of $85 a year.

Goyal announced that the measure, which will cost about $10.5 billion, would be implemented with immediate effect. “This will pave the way for them to earn a respectable living,” he said. “Such support will help them avoid indebtedness.”

India, Farmers
Interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal, center, holds a briefcase containing federal budget documents with Junior Finance ministers Shiv Pratap Shukla, center right, and Pon Radhakrishnan, left, upon their arrival at the parliament house in New Delhi, India, Feb. 1, 2019. VOA

Farmers complain that a sharp decline in crop prices has hurt their incomes and driven millions into debt. Rural experts said they were not sure whether the measure will assuage disgruntled rural communities that have been demanding loan waivers and better prices for their produce.

The government also announced a pension scheme of about $40 a month for nearly 100 million poor workers in the country’s vast unorganized sector and tax breaks for the middle classes.

The welfare measures come as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party tries to address rising discontent in the country — there is growing anger in rural areas over falling crop prices and widespread worries that his government has failed to create jobs to meet the needs of the country’s huge young population.

The Bharatiya Janata Party recently lost elections in three heartland states, raising concerns it could struggle to win a majority in the upcoming elections. Modi had sailed to power in 2014 on the promise of creating millions of jobs.

Modi, India, Farmers
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, center, is garlanded by BJP leaders on the first day of the two-day Bharatiya Janata Party national convention in New Delhi, Jan. 11, 2019. VOA

Although economic growth numbers have been good, lack of jobs has emerged as the biggest challenge for Modi. A report in the Business Standard newspaper says a government survey that has not been released pegs the unemployment rate at a 45-year high of 6.1 percent.

Expressing optimism that “India is solidly back on track and marching towards growth and prosperity,” Goyal said that infrastructure projects such as building roads in rural areas will boost employment.

The opposition Congress Party slammed the income support of $85 a year announced for farmers as inadequate. Saying that it is not going to be transformational, senior party leader Shashi Tharoor tweeted, “₹6000 [6,000 rupees, or $84] in income support for farmers boils down to ₹500 [500 rupees, or $7] per month. Is that supposed to enable them to live with the honor and dignity?”

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The Congress Party is also trying to woo voters with the promise of a minimum income for the poor if it wins the upcoming general election. The BJP has dismissed the pledge as unaffordable, while economists have expressed concern that the “competitive populism” by India’s two main parties ahead of general elections could strain the country’s finances.

The government said the fiscal deficit this year will rise from 3.3 percent to 3.4 percent due to the outlay for the income scheme for farmers. (VOA)