SBI kicks off farm loan waiver scheme

The State Bank of India (SBI) on Monday kicked off the UPA government's mega farm loan waiver scheme -- the Agriculture Debt Relief & Debt Waiver Scheme 2008. The bank's Jamli rural branch in Madhya Pradesh issued fresh loan eligibility letters to farmers under the scheme.

SBI chairman OP Bhatt visited the Jamli branch to assess first hand the level of preparedness. "SBI's nationwide rural branch network is geared to implement the scheme. Under the Scheme, agriculture loanees need not apply for debt waiver, the bank will do it for them," Bhatt said.

Bhatt distributed fresh loan eligibility letters to 21 farmers who are eligible for debt relief under the scheme. In SBI's Bhopal circle, consisting of MP and Chhatisgarh, an estimated 1.80 lakh and 67,000 farmers in the two states respectively, eligible for benefits under the scheme by way of waiver or relief.

Bhatt directed the bank staff to implement the scheme within the set deadline and also extend fresh loans for the ensuing Kharif season as per requirement of the farmers.

Only those direct agricultural loans which fulfill all the three conditions — disbursed between March 31, 1997 and March 31, 2007, overdue on December 31, 2007 and remaining unpaid until February 29, 2008 will be eligible for debt waiver/debt relief under the scheme.

Loans for construction of storage facilities are not covered under the scheme. Loans for purchase of land, construction of farmhouses, sheds, fencing, etc. are also not covered under the scheme. Only direct agricultural loans to farmers are covered under the scheme.

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