July 28, 2003, Chandigarh, India
Interest rate on farm loans cut
New Delhi, July 27
Commenting on Union Agriculture Minister Rajnath Singh’s description of the Centre’s “unprecedented” step to reduce interest rates on agriculture loans, Mr Vajpayee said his government would continue to take “many more such ‘unprecedented' steps”.
Addressing farmers who had gathered at his residence to thank him for reducing interest rates on agricultural loans, Mr Vajpayee said to ensure that farmers “actually” benefit from the interest rate cuts, ‘nigrani’ (monitoring) committees must be set up at the lower levels.
He said the government had already announced to reduce interest rates on agriculture loans up to Rs 50,000 at 9 per cent from 14-18 per cent.
The Reserve Bank of India and the bank associations have already agreed to keep the interest on agriculture loans up to Rs 50,000 at a single digit. Seeking further relief for the farmers, the Centre had now asked banks not to charge more than PLR for agriculture loans up to Rs 2 lakh.
Mr Vajpayee said the farming community should be complimented for the resilience it had shown to fight the drought in many parts of the state last season. He pointed out that the Centre had also waived interests for drought-affected farmers. But he ruled out extending the facility to the farmers living in other regions.
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