Indian society has become unequal than ever and farm loan waiver was designed to fail, The Hindu Rural Affairs Editor P.Sainath said here at a seminar on ‘banking as a fundamental right of people’, organised by All India Bank Employees’ Association on Sunday. While the country stood 134th in the human development index, it was fifth in terms of dollar-billionaires, he said.
While the Union budget allocated about Rs.70,000 crore for 240 million farmers, Rs.80,000 crore or more were being allocated for the rich. The desperately needy farmers were kept out of the farm loan portfolio, he said, with supporting evidence.
The condition for farm loan waiver did not make a distinction between irrigated and non-irrigated farmlands. The farmer holding more land in the latter category were left out due to curbs on the land holding although they were incurring higher costs on farming. It had led to a series of farmers’ suicides.
There was a ploy to help farmers hailing from Union Agriculture Minister’s constituency. The deadline for eligibility also had a woven trick to keep out farmers cultivating crops such as cotton. The much publicised loan waiver had zero impact on those who required it.
Mr.Sainath said farm credit had been redefine several times, but it had failed to serve the purpose. Farm credits were disbursed more in urban Mumbai than in rural Maharashtra. Strengthening of rural credit by non-banking finance companies was a fallout of the situation. Most of the farmers who committed suicide were those who took loans from private lenders.
While loans were disbursed to businessmen to buy costly automobiles at 7 per cent interest, the farmers were getting loans at a higher rate. Inequality and insanity were being perpetuated in the country in the name of liberalisation, he added.