Plan Panel meet to consider debt waiver for farmers

Plan Panel meet to consider debt waiver for farmers
PTI
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First Published: Fri, May 11 2007. 04 36 PM IST
Updated: Fri, May 11 2007. 04 36 PM IST
New Delhi: A meeting of the full Planning Commission will be held here on 14 May to draw a strategy for pushing farm sector growth to 4% through increased credit penetration, besides a one-time debt waiver.
Such a strategy would be aimed at helping the country achieve 10% economic growth during the 11th Plan (2007-12).
The Commission, which would meet under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, would consider expeditious one-time debt settlement by setting up a fund worth Rs36,000 crore.
“Arbitrary debt waivers are not desirable, but there is need for formal mechanisms at appropriate level to expedite one time settlements,” Commission sources said.
The 11th Plan Working Group has recommended that debt-relief funds should be set up with contributions from the Finance Ministry, Reserve Bank of India and state governments, they said.
“Farm credit has expanded significantly in recent years, but outreach has not. The number of credit accounts is declining particularly small accounts. Promoting financial inclusion is a greater priority than the more popular demand for lower interest rates,” the sources pointed out.
The concerned central ministries and states have together sought a whopping Rs 1.33 lakh crore for the agriculture sector for the 11th Plan period, which is more than twice the amount allocated during the 10th Plan.
Apart from credit availability, the meeting would also deliberate on issues concerning shortage of pulses, declining per capita availability of foodgrains, irrigation and diversification of farm produce.
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First Published: Fri, May 11 2007. 04 36 PM IST