When this farmer from Uttar Pradesh’s Mathura district received a certificate waiving one paisa of his outstanding farm loan of over Rs. 1.5 lakh under Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s much-hyped farmer loan waiver scheme, he didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
Chiddhi, who owns a few bighas of land, said he had taken a crop loan of Rs. 1.55 lakh from the Punjab National Bank about six years ago. He says he is eligible for Rs. 1 lakh rupee loan waiver under the scheme.
In April this year, Yogi Adityanath had approved the ‘Rin Mochan Yojana’ to waive crop loans of farmers subject to a ceiling of Rs. 1,00,000. The government had said that it will benefit 86 lakh small and marginal farmers across the state and would cost Rs. 36,000 crore to the UP exchequer. About 12 lakh farmers have received waiver certificates so far as part of the scheme.
“Either this is a mistake by the officials or the Yogi Adityanath government has cracked a joke. My father had taken this loan in 2011. At least Rs. 1 lakh should have been waived. We want the chief minister to keep his promise. I have visited the officials thrice but nobody has been able to explain this one paisa waiver,” says Banwari Lal, Chiddhi’s son.
The Mathura district administration says it could be due to a technical glitch in the system. However, the Aadhar linked bank account for Chiddhi had an outstanding loan interest of one paisa which is why his name was generated in the system. The officials say they are checking if the farmer has a second bank account that was not linked and hence was not found earlier.
But Chiddhi isn’t the only to have received such a waiver. In the last few days, the UP government faced flak for handing out loan waiver certificates to farmers for just a few rupees. About 10,000 farmers have received certificates worth a few rupees.
Farmer Shambhu Nath got a Rs. 12 loan waiver. He had a loan of Rs. 28,812 before March 2016, but he returned Rs.28,800 in June last year by selling his bull. So he became eligible for only a Rs. 12 loan waiver.
Ram Prasad from the state’s Shahjahanpur district has got a Rs. 1.50 loan waiver. An elderly farmer in the Etawah district was handed a loan waiver certificate totalling Rs.3 a few days ago.
“There have been technical difficulties. We have asked our officers not to give any certificates to those receiving loan waivers up to 10,000 rupees,” said Shrikant Sharma , minister and lawmaker from Mathura.
The opposition while criticising the scheme said “the government has just quantified a number for the farmers”. “Now whether they got one paisa or 10 paisa, it’s not their concern. When you ask the government and their representatives, all we get are flimsy excuses. If the intention was to make a joke of loan waiver, it has certainly happened,” said Juhi Singh of the Samajwadi Party.