New Delhi: Following up on its pre-election promise, the Uttar Pradesh government has initiated the process of waiver of crop loans worth Rs7,371 crore in the first phase, the state government said in a statement on Tuesday.
According to the government, loans of 1,193,224 small and marginal farmers will be waived in the first phase. However, disaggregated data shows that for 4,814 farmers, the loan amounts waived are as low as Rs1-100 per farmer, while for another 6,895 farmers, loans waived range between Rs100 and Rs500. The data also shows that for 1,127,890 farmers, the amount of loan waived is higher than Rs10,000 per farmer.
In April, the newly elected state government announced a waiver of crop loans of up to Rs1,00,000 per small and marginal farmer owning less than five acres of land. Total loans to be waived is estimated at Rs36,359 crore and the scheme is expected to benefit 8.6 million farmers.
“In a few places, loan waiver certificates of extremely small amounts have created a confusion (among farmers)," the government statement admitted, amid reports from districts like Hamirpur and Bijnor where farmers have received loan waiver certificates for amounts as low as Rs10.
“On Monday, the district administration distributed loan waiver certificates to around 6,000 farmers out of which at least 250 farmers have got waivers of less than Rs100... we are not yet clear why the amounts are so low," said Devendra Gandhi, a rights activist from Hamirpur.
According to the state government’s official statement, the amount waived in some cases are extremely low as unpaid amount of interest dues have been waived under the scheme for farmers who have repaid most of their crop loans.
The announcement of a farm loan waiver in Uttar Pradesh in April has been followed by other states such as Punjab, Maharashtra and Karnataka. Together, 14.9 million farmers are expected to benefit from a loan waiver amounting to Rs85,000 crore in these four states.
Farmers in states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are also demanding waiver of crop loans alongside higher crop support prices.