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Zero interest on timely crop loan repayment as new year gift by Narendra Modi

Zero interest on timely crop loan repayment as new year gift

In a bid to address farmers’ distress ahead of 2019 general elections, the PM Narendra Modi is considering waiving interest on crop loans for farmers who pay on time, costing an additional Rs 15,000 crore to the exchequer, according to sources. There is also a proposal to completely waive premium for taking insurance policy for food crops. The premium on horticultural crops could also be reduced, they said. 

The ruling BJP government has swung into action to address distress in the agriculture sector after it lost power to the Congress in three heartland states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh in the recent state polls. 

According to sources, several rounds of meetings have taken place at the highest level in the last few days to chalk out a plan to address difficulties faced by farmers in view of low realisation in several crops amid bumper production. 

Meetings have taken place at the highest level to address difficulties

According to sources, several rounds of meetings have taken place at the highest level in the last few days to chalk out a plan to address difficulties faced by farmers in view of low realisation in several crops amid bumper production. 

To provide immediate relief, one of the proposals being studied is to waive 4 per cent interest rate on farmers repaying farm loan promptly within the due date. 

At present, farmers get for short-term farm loan of up to Rs 3 lakh at 7 per cent interest rate. To prompt repayment additional incentive of 3 per cent is being given to farmers . 

Narendra Modi has set a target to provide Rs 11 lakh crore credit to farmers in the current fiscal. It extended Rs 11.69 lakh crore credit to farmers last fiscal, surpassing the target of Rs 10 lakh crore. 

The Centre bears a cost of around Rs 15,000 crore annually for the interest subsidy of 2 per cent in normal cases and 5 per cent in case of prompt repayment of farm loans. 

Sources said that the interest burden could double to Rs 30,000 crore if the interest is completely waived for prompt repayment of farm loans. 

Launched in April 2016, the PMFBY provides comprehensive crop insurance from pre-sowing to post harvest against non-preventable natural risks at extremely low premium rate of 2 per cent for kharif crops, 1.5 per cent for rabi crops and 5 per cent for horticulture and commercial crops.

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