Assam government on Wednesday announced three major schemes for the farming community of the state.
They said that the 27 lakh farmers’ families in Assam will be given—credit subsidy, relief on interest of loans they have taken and incentives to continuously engage the farmers with the banking system—which will cost the state exchequer Rs. 1,000 crore.
Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said these schemes are launched as the government’s gratitude towards the farmers, particularly on the occasion of 125th anniversary of Potharughat Farmers’ uprising, where about 140 farmers have sacrificed their lives.
Sarma said this while addressing a press conference and added that through the Assam Farmers’ Credit Subsidy Scheme (AFCSS) the government will deposit 25 percent of the total amount paid by farmers for loans availed between Apr 1 this year to March 31 next year, subjected to a maximum limit of Rs. 25,000.
He said that this scheme will cover all sort of term crop loans including Kharif, Rabi, and short term loan for plantations crops like tea and rubber availed between the period. “The government of Assam will also extend a benefit of 25 percent of the outstanding amount of the loans availed by the farmer between the same period with a cap of Rs. 25,000 per such account if the farmer is depositing the balance amount to clear the outstanding dues,” he said adding that the scheme will cover 4 lakh farmers with a financial implication of Rs. 500 crore to the state exchequer.
The Minister further said that the government will extend special support to the prompt paying farmers by providing interest subvention of four percent on short term crop loans up to a limit of Rs. 2 lakh. “The scheme—Assam Farmers’ Interest Relief Scheme (AFIRS) will be aligned with the central government’s scheme under which such farmers are already extended a 3 percent interest subvention benefit ,”he said adding that thus the effective rate of interest for farmers in Assam for short term crop loan up to Rs. 2 lakh will be zero percent.
He said that the scheme aims at incentivizing the prompt paying farmers and is expected to establish a virtuous credit cycle through the banks. “This scheme will cover 11 lakh farmers and will involve a financial outgo of Rs. 200 crore,” the minister said.
Sarma said that out of the 27 lakh farmers in Assam, only about 19 lakh farm families have been covered by Kisan Credit Card (KCCs). “There is a clear gap of 8 lakh KCCs which needed to be provided to the farmers and many KCCs are inoperative. Through the Assam Farmers’ Incentives Scheme (AFIS) the government will pay a one time cash incentive up to Rs. 10,000 for activating the inactive KCC accounts provided the farmers deposits the outstanding loan amounts,” he said adding that this scheme will cover 3 lakh farmers with a financial outgo of Rs. 300 crore.
He said that the government will also give a one time financial assistance of Rs. 5,000 per farmer to about 5 lakh farmers in the state.