To have powers to write off farmers' debts

Our Bureau

It will have the powers to declare a particular region or a crop as crisis-prone and take relief measures.

Thiruvananthapuram, July 20

The State Government will soon set up a Debt Relief Commission that will have powers to write off the debts of farmers in distress.

The Chief Minister, Mr V.S. Achuthanandan, said here on Thursday that the commission would be part of the Government's efforts to put in place urgent measures to extend relief to debt-ridden farmers in the State.

He said that the Left Democratic Front (LDF) had promised in its election manifesto that it would write off the debts of farmers who committed suicide and also take steps to bring relief to debt-stressed farmers. The front was able to fulfil the promises immediately after assuming office.

Besides, the Governor's address and later the State budget contained clear guidelines for extending relief to farmers in debt. The budget has earmarked Rs 100 crore for Agricultural Debt Relief Commission and another Rs 56 crore for Agricultural Commission, which aims at ensuring price stability.

The Debt Relief Commission will initiate steps to help the farmers in a time-bound manner. It will have the powers to declare a particular region or a crop as crisis-prone and take relief measures, including writing off of loans, the Chief Minister said.

The measure will include one-time settlement of loans, waiver of interest, reduction in repayment of principal amount and declaration of moratorium, apart from loans write-off. This will be done on a case-to-case basis, he said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated July 21, 2006)
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