Amid Opposition charges of farm distress in Uttar Pradesh, the Yogi Adityanath government has claimed a sum of more than Rs 24,821 crore had been disbursed to 4.5 million farmers under the flagship crop loan waiver scheme.
Besides, crop loan-waiver claims worth Rs 704 crore pertaining to 118,000 farmers were being processed by the state agriculture department in the current 2019-20 financial year.
The Adityanath government had allocated Rs 36,000 crore for the loan waiver scheme, which was initially intended to benefit an estimated 8.6 million small and marginal farmers, who had sourced bank loans during 2015-16 fiscal year.
According to UP agriculture minister Surya Pratap Shahi, the state has now covered all the bona fide farmers who had availed of crop loan during 2015-16.
During 2017-18, crop loans worth Rs 20,942 crore taken by 3.48 million farmers were waived off in three phases by launching an extensive state wide drive. Besides, 126,000 farmers also benefitted when the scheme cleared the farm sector non-performing assets (NPA) worth nearly Rs 150 crore of the different banks.
During 2018-19, about 848,000 state farmers, who were left out of the scheme, were covered and total crop loans and NPAs worth more than Rs 3,730 crore were incurred by the state government.
Earlier, the projected crop loan waiver was estimated at Rs 30,700 crore with the remaining portion of 5,300 crore aimed at providing succour to other segment of farmers by writing off NPA accumulated by commercial and cooperative banks in the farm sector, thus, making such farmers eligible to seek fresh loans.
Interestingly, the scheme had also come under cloud last year following media reports of some farmers being given benefit cheques of amount less than Rs 10, apart from news of field officials allegedly demanding money for processing the loan waiver applications.
Of the total 23 million farmers in UP, 92.5 percent or 21.5 million fall in the category of small and marginal segments.
At the end of March 2016, total agricultural loan outstanding in UP stood at Rs 1.21 trillion, which increased to Rs 1.30 trillion at the end of March 2017. Thus, the earlier projected crop loan waiver of Rs 30,700 crore was roughly 25% of total outstanding agricultural loan of Rs 1.21 trillion incurred during 2015-16.
Meanwhile, UP has topped the Centre’s flagship PM Kisan scheme with total payout of more than Rs 10,000 crore to the beneficiary farmers. Since, about Rs 36,000 crore have so far been transferred to farmers’ bank accounts pan India under the scheme, the payment of Rs 10,000 crore in UP accounts for 28 per cent of disbursement.
The total beneficiaries under PM Kisan are likely to hit the 29-million mark after the 2021 Census from the current estimated count of 23.3 million.