RBI, Nabard probing errors in implementation of farm loan waiver

The finance ministry on Tuesday said the Reserve Bank of India and the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) are looking into errors in implementation of the farm debt waiver scheme and will take action against banks found involved in irregularities and the ineligible beneficiaries.

The issue was first highlighted by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India. Finance Minister P Chidambaram informed the Rajya Sabha that the CAG report on the Agricultural Debt Waiver and Debt Relief Scheme, 2008, has been submitted and a day would fixed for its tabling.

The CAG in its report has pointed out errors in inclusion and exclusion of beneficiaries.

It is 'unfortunate' that some deserving farmers did not get the benefit of the scheme, Chidambaram said while replying to supplementary question, adding that the government is more concerned about inclusion of ineligible beneficiaries.

Nabard and RBI, in January, issued directions to lending institutions to examine cases of any irregularities and to take corrective steps including recovery of such amounts from ineligible beneficiaries.

Directions had also been issued for recovery of any excess payment and fixing responsibility of the bank staff in appropriate cases. The finance minister said the amount of money given to ineligible beneficiaries would be known after completion of the inquiries. He said the debt waiver was to the tune of about Rs 55,000 crore.

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