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Tuesday, Jul 27, 2004

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Write off farm loans up to Rs 10,000: Experts

Our Bureau

Guntur , July 26

LOANS taken by farmers from banks up to Rs 10,000 should be waived, as done in 1990 by the V.P. Singh Government, to pull farmers out of debt trap and end the splurge of suicides in Andhra Pradesh, opined Mr Dinesh Chandra, former Union Banking Secretary.

Mr Chandra, who was the chief guest at the inaugural session of a two-day seminar on `Rural indebtedness and Indian agriculture' organised here on Saturday and Sunday by the Indian Liberal Group and the A.P. Virginia Tobacco Farmers' Association, said rescheduling of loans would be of no avail and the other remedial steps also would be of little use in a crisis situation such as the one witnessed in the State now.

He said a waiver of loans up to Rs 10,000 all over the country would only entail a financial burden of Rs 4,000-5,000 crore and the Union Government should make good the amount to banks.

Dr Y. Sivaji, President of the A.P. Virginia Tobacco Growers' Association, said the farm sector had been badly neglected by the successive governments at the State and central levels. "The investment into the sector is coming down all the time. The growth rate is negative," he said.

Dr I.V. Subba Rao, former Vice-Chancellor of the Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University, said the suicides by farmers were the culmination of a number of factors, of which rural indebtedness was a very important factor. But it is not the only one.

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