60,000 crores: missing the woods

a report in the times of india, hyderabad, a couple of days ago says:
Even as bankers wait for detailed guidelines from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on the loan waiver scheme, their preliminary assessment is that the real beneficiaries would only be the wilful defaulters and not the disciplined farmers. In Andhra Pradesh, bankers estimate the wilful defaulters to be not more than 10 lakhs at the most.
10 lakhs in andhra pradesh. how many farmers would that mean, across india? at best, 8 million? that means i was a little optimistic in this post, in which i'd mentioned 10 million possible beneficiaries. the report goes on to say:
Bankers say there are about 1.15 crore farmers in the state. Of these, about 90 lakh are small and marginal farmers, including about 20 lakh tenant farmers. The tenant farmers have never tapped banks, not surprising because they work on an oral tenancy without any written agreement with landlords. The 70 lakh "real" farmers, bankers say, have been making use of the banking sector but a majority of them are disciplined and repay loans on time. This is also to avail loans for the next crop.
here, the reporter seems a little optimistic: if 70 lakh small and marginal farmers were able to access institutional credit in andhra pradesh, so many thousands wouldn't have committed suicide in the last fifteen years. this rediff report from punjab says:
Indeed, according to Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, nearly 80 per cent of the farmers in 1 million holdings in Punjab will be outside the ambit of the biggest loan waiver in Indian fiscal history.

Business Standard spoke to 25 farmers in three villages in Sangrur and found that just 4 out of 25 farmers benefit from the waiver.

if only 20% of farmers (or 2 lakh farmers) in punjab would benefit from this waiver, the less said about the rest of the country the better- even the figure of 8 million sounds very, very optimistic now. because, in terms of access to bank credit punjabi famers have always been the most fortunate. institutional credit met 60% or more of their needs until a few years ago- famers in most other states, on an average, cannot access more than a fifth of their credit needs from banks.

i met five small famers from the prosperous samalkot area in east godavari district, in coastal andhra, yesterday. access to bank credit in that paddy-growing, canal irrigated region has always been better than in most other regions in the state. but i was told that none of the five famers i met would benefit from this waiver. because none of them are defaulters. and they had stopped going to co-operative banks more than a decade ago because most of them had stopped lending to ordinary famers. most of the debtors on their books are famers of course. but a majority of the farmer-borrowers don't know that the co-operative banks had lent them money.

1 comment:

praveen said...

I know couple of farmers who skip a meal to pay the installment on time. I guess they feel they are ditched.

I don't know any technical details of how they decide on how to allocate budget. But my common sense says loan waivers isn't the best way to spend money. We could have used that for providing new subsidies. But unfortunately my role ends after filing Income Tax returns I guess. :-(

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