After Rajasthan, MP Farmers, Who Didn't Take Out Loan, Allege Having Names On Waiver List
A report came from Sagar district claiming that after Rajasthan, it has now been alleged by Madhya Pradesh farmers that despite them never taking out a loan, their names have been included in the list of farm loan waiver.
“We’re collecting information from the bank manager. Action will be taken if someone is found to be at fault,” said Sagar District Central cooperative committee manager.
Madhya Pradesh farm loan waiver scam
At the panchayat level, as soon as names of the beneficiaries for state government’s farmers’ Jai Kisan Rin Maafi Yojana loan waiver scheme began being processed by the government, the problem was encountered, reported The Times of India.
“It’s a huge scam and we will get it investigated. In the last few years, cooperative bank employees had been withdrawing money belonging to poor farmers surreptitiously. They were also taking benefits of the scheme and without the knowledge of the farmers. The lists are on display, now,” said Cooperatives minister Govind Singh.
Several farmers protested saying that their names are on the list even though they have not taken any loan and do not have any outstanding payment with banks. Names of some dead farmers were also on the list.
A farmer, Arjun Ahirwar, from Chhatarpur’s village Bhandara, said that three years ago, he had taken a loan of Rs 6,000, and it was repaid. But against his name, an outstanding of Rs 2.40 lakh was displayed in the list.
Komal Singh, another farmer, had taken a loan of Rs 20,000 three years ago, and there was an outstanding of Rs 1.89 lakh against his name in the list. Seoni and Gwalior are also places from where such incidents have been reported.
Minister Govind Singh called the whole issue a “huge scam”, and said that he will ensure that names of dead farmers and of those who did not take loans will be deleted. He further said that every genuine farmer will get benefit of the scheme.
Under the 15-year BJP rule, the state’s cooperative movement has collapsed. The minister said that a lot of cooperative banks have huge non-performing assets (NPA). The cooperative bank in Bhind, for instance, has 55% NPA.
Singh further said that in 2007, in reply to a question in the Vidhan Sabha, it was admitted by the then BJP government that there were irregularities in the cooperative banks and that 2,100 people were involved. However, no action had been taken against them. Singh said that a probe will be ordered and the whole scam will be examined by the government.
An enquiry has been ordered into the whole case by Suresh Rawat, the general manager of the Chhatarpur cooperative bank.
Rs 13 instead of Rs 24,000 loan waiver
Shivlal Kataria, a farmer from Madhya Pradesh, on the list of beneficiaries for the farm loan waiver, Rs 13 marked against his name instead of Rs 24,000. “The state government had promised to waive loans up to Rs. 2 lakh. Forms were filled and I was expecting a complete waiver of my loan amount of Rs. 23,815. But the list that has come to the panchayat says only Rs. 13 have been waived,” he said.
Kataria was excited when the Congress came to power as they had promised loan waiver before the assembly polls. He said he is an honest farmer and has been regularly paying his dues, reported NDTV. A resident of Nipania Baijnath village in Agar Malwa district, Kataria had to say that on being questioned, he was told by the staff that he did not have loan on me on the loan waiver date. He has reported the issue to the authorities as there are major irregularities in the loan waiver scheme.
According to the government, however, there are irregularities at the stage of loan disbursal, because of which there are rising flaws. Cabinet minister Omkar Singh Markam said that these irregularities are surfacing and required action is being taken. Congress leader and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, ensuring that he keeps in pre-election promise, on the day he took charge had announced farm loan waiver. The last date for loan waiver application is February 5, and the money will start going into the bank account of farmers from February 22. 55 lakh farmers should benefit from the scheme and an expenditure of Rs. 50,000 crore would be entailed.
Bank officers, panchayat secy ringleaders in scam
Investigations revealed that the scan was made possible by the collusion of several officials from district cooperative banks, secretaries of panchayats and supervisors in-charge of the verification of loan cases. Fraudulently, loans were being taken in others’ names for years all over the state, but mostly in the Gwalior-Chambal and Bundelkhand region, reported Hindustan Times. According to officials, the damage is nearly Rs 1.2 billion in Gwalior alone.
“A Special Investigation Team has been formed and 10 cases registered against cooperative societies so far. But that number is going to increase,’ said Gwalior collector Bharat Yadav. He further said that there is evidence of loan being taken in names of dead people and non-farmers, and even in the name of a former MLA.
Explaining how the scam took place, a former chairman of a cooperative bank said that due to flaws in the system, the fraud happened on such large scale. The Panchayat secretary is the one with whom most of the farmers keep their land and other documents. The secretary, with the help of the bank official and bank loan supervisor, would make use of the documents to generate normal credit limit (NCL) slips. The eligibility of farmers for crop loans are determined by these slips. The people on whose names the loans were taken never came to know anything as the verification is in the hands of the supervisor. In several cases, part of the loan was taken in cash by the panchayat secretary and the rest, put in a newly-created account, was later withdrawn. In some cases, loans were returned. But when there was a drop in interests rates from 14 per cent to three per cent and then to zero per cent, the fraud increased. Loans were taken by people for non-farming activities as well.
Gwalior’s Advocate Varun Dev Sharma said that despite him not having any connection with his village for the past two decades, his name was there in the list of debtors, and so was the name of his late mother Kashibai.
Cooperatives department principal secretary Ajit Kesari said that a foolproof system to check frauds has now been devised to ensure that loan waivers are only given to genuine people. Farmers will now have to fill in three colour-coded forms: green for farmers whose bank accounts are linked with their Aadhar cards, white for those who have done so yet, and for those raising an objection, it is pink.
Further, the pink form is also addressing issues in which loans in lakhs of rupees as only Rs 15-25 against names. Collectors who head district committees will also be there to check the irregularities.
Previously, Rajasthan farm loan waiver scam
In a recent incident, the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government came under the spotlight following Dungarpur farmers claiming that they found their names on the list which featured the names of those for whom the state government had waived short-term farm loan. After The Logical Indian contacted the district collector, it was confirmed that the loans were indeed approved by BJP.
Farm loan waiver had been promised by Congress President Rahul Gandhi if the party forms the government in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh followed suit and announced waiver after a farm loan waiver up to Rs 2 lakh were announced by Gehlot.
It is important that the government ensures that such massive flaws do not take place so that farmers do not have to struggle unreasonably.