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BJP demands CBI probe in farmers loan waiver 'scam'

IANS
Mar 06, 2013 at 02:07am IST

New Delhi: The BJP on Tuesday alleged that nearly 34 lakh farmers had been denied their right under the loan waiver scheme of the UPA government and demanded a CBI inquiry to unearth the real extent of the "massive scam".

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said this revelation further proved that farmers had got a raw deal from the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, and demanded a waiver of all outstanding dues as on March 31, 2013.

"Nearly 34 lakh eligible farmers stand denied their right for debt waiver and more than 24 lakh ineligible people had also got benefits under the scheme," he said.

BJP demands CBI probe in farmers loan waiver 'scam'

The CAG report which was tabled in Parliament earlier on Tuesday criticised the scheme's implementation, citing lapses in 22 per cent of the cases.

He noted that the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has checked only about 90,000 accounts out of 3.5 crore accounts of farmers and found even with this small sampling that 13 percent eligible farmers were not considered by lending institutions.

"Further 8.5 per cent ineligible beneficiaries got undue windfall profit. There may be many who may not even be farmers... A CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) probe should be ordered to get the real picture," he said.

Javadekar said the figure of eligible farmers not getting the waiver benefit and number of ineligible beneficiaries is likely to increase once detailed inspection of each account is carried out.

"What is shocking is that some of the micro-finance institutions, through not eligible, got benefited. The CAG has come across the cases of tampering, overwriting, alterations which all tantamount to a fraud and therefore a scam. The public money has gone to undeserving beneficiaries," he said.

He said there were other lacunae highlighted by the CAG like six percent farmers not being extended the benefits for which they were entitled. "Debt waivers certificates are not issued to many farmers causing difficulties in getting fresh loans. The BJP demands that the enquiry must fix the responsibility and action must be taken against the guilty," he said.

Javadekar said agricultural distress had increased despite the loan waiver and farmers continue to commit suicide.

He demanded that government should accept MS Swaminathan committee formula of "cost of production plus 50 percent", as the viability of farm economy has disappeared because continuous rise in inputs cost like fertilisers, pesticides, seeds, water, electricity and diesel etc.

"The gap between the MSP (minimum support price) and the cost of production as calculated by the CACP (Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices) is getting narrowed. The terms of trade, in the UPA regime, has gone against farmers," he said.

The loan waiver scheme was brought by the UPA government in its first term (2004-09).

The Comptroller and Auditor General has said there were serious lapses and malpractices in implementing the government's Rs 52,000 crore ($9.5 billion) farm loan waiver scheme in 2008.

In a report tabled in parliament Tuesday on "Implementation of Agricultural Debt Waiver and Debt Relief Scheme, 2008", the CAG said there were irregularities in at least one in five cases.

Answering queries, Javadekar said the party would raise the issue of damage to Hindu temples in Bangladesh during the violence in the country.

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