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Congress seek loans, cash relief for farmers

Hyderabad: The Congress party on Thursday demanded that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) take immediate measures to ensure that farmers get crop loans and easy access to cash.

A delegation comprising of TPCC’s Kishan Kheth Mazoor Congress chairman M. Kodanda Reddy and MLAs A. Sampath Kumar and M. Vamshi Chand Reddy met RBI Regional Director R. Subramaniam and SLBC Convener U.N.N. Maiya requesting immediate measures to help the farmers of Telangana State.

“Farmers in Telangana have been passing through various problems and challenges to pursue food and fibre production in the past few years. Over the last two crop seasons, farmers could not get fair prices for their crop harvests. They were also negatively impacted by demonetization efforts of the government of India.

The recent demonetisation scheme has badly hit farmers, leaving them without cash for sowing monsoon crops. Though public procurement of cotton, chillies and pigeon pea was not as per expectations, farmers could get some solace from paddy harvest procurement.

Yet the procurement prices, dependent on Minimum Support Prices, were much lower than the actual cost of cultivation. As part of this procurement, they received online and/or cheque payments, necessitating them to visit banks.

With inadequate number of rural branches, farmers have to travel and expend significantly to liquidate these cheques in order to purchase inputs for the current kharif season. In the background of this problem, farmers are facing immense difficulties,” the Congress leaders said in their representation.

Therefore, the Congress leaders demanded that the RBI and SLBC put in place mechanisms and procedures that enable farmers to quickly and easily access their accounts and realize their cheques.

“The RBI should also enable availability of sufficient amounts of cash in all the rural branches, on a priority basis, over and above what is made available normally.

RBI should ask banks to ensure the district cooperative banks and regional rural banks, which provide loans to several farmers’ cooperatives, get sufficient amount of cash,” they demanded.

They said faster implementation of crop loan disbursal should be enabled through deployment of higher number of staff in all rural branches. “A proactive, field-level crop loan disbursal mechanism should be activated on the lines of business correspondents.

An army of such personnel can go to villages and quickly complete the necessary documentation for loan disbursal. District lead bank should take initiative and motivated all other banks under its jurisdiction to do the same.

RBI should relax rules on loans to farmers, and ask the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development to disburse up to at least Rs.5,000 crore to district cooperative banks for crop loans, immediately,” they said.

Further, the Congress leaders said RBI should ask State level bank authorities and all agriculture loan authorities to declare scale of finance for current year on a public domain, and continuously thereafter.

It should be done at least one month before every crop season. There should be a routine public release at various levels, from State level downwards, they said. (INN)

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