PM urged to announce farm debt relief scheme

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Vijayawada, Feb 5 (UNI) Andhra Pradesh Tobacco Growers Association President Yellamanchali Shivaji today urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to announce 'farm debt relief scheme-2008', with a ceiling of Rs 50,000 to each individual farmer, by adjusting in the loan account of present outstanding.

Talking to UNI here, he said the scheme should cover the overdue crop loans availed from the cooperative and commercial banks.

Mr Shivaji, also a former MP, said if the scheme covered the overdue crop loans, the short term crop loans of all marginal and small farmers would be covered and they would become eligible for fresh loans.

He said the scheme must come into force with effect from April 2, 2008 and apply to eligible crop loans in public sector, and regional rural and co-operative banks.

The scheme, if announced, could be implemented within two months and fresh loans made available for the next kharif crops, he added.

Mr Shivaji said the cost of the scheme would not exceed Rs 40,000 crore. Unless the large number of small and marginal farmers, who were caught in debt trap, were offered relief by announcing the new scheme, it would be impossible to check the phenomenon of farmers' suicides, he lamented.

UNI CS VA JJ RC RN1802

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