Kerala Agriculture Minister V.S. Sunilkumar will lead a delegation of top state officials to meet Reserve Bank (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das on July 10.
Sunilkumar told IANS that the meeting will be a follow-up on an advertisement given by the State Level Banker’s Committee (SLBC) in leading dailies last month that announced recovery of loans from farmers from August 1.
“In view of last year’s floods, the Centre had announced a moratorium on recovery of farm loans in Kerala till December 31, 2019. Now the SLBC says that the moratorium will end by July 31, which is not acceptable to us. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and I met with the SLBC to express our disagreement with the change in the deadline. On July 10, we will present our case before the RBI Governor,” said Sunilkumar.
“In 2019 alone, about two dozen farmers in Kerala committed suicide after banks went ahead with loan recoveries. From August 1 onwards, most farm loans will turn into non-performing assets if the RBI does not keep its word and maintain a moratorium on loan recoveries till December 31. Hence the RBI Governor must act,” said the Minister.
Sunilkumar added that the state government would also recommend to the RBI Governor to prevent misuse of low-interest agriculture gold loans.
“Commercial banks misuse the 4 per cent interest on agriculture gold loans scheme to pass on its benefit to non-farmers for non-agricultural purposes. We propose AGL only to farmers with Kisan Credit Cards (KCC),” added the Minister.
“Also at present, farm loans are provided only for paddy cultivation. We will demand agricultural loans for anyone involved in farming,” he said.