RBI urged to help Punjab farmers battle debt

Chandigarh, Oct 15 (Calcutta Tube) The Punjab government Thursday urged the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to promote the agricultural debt swap scheme to free farmers of the state from the clutches of moneylenders.

The issue was raised by Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal during a meeting with RBI Governor D. Subbarao here Thursday.

‘The Punjab government requested the RBI that it should impress upon public sector banks to aggressively promote the agricultural debt swap scheme,’ an official spokesman said here.

Badal told the RBI governor that Punjab farmers were reeling under a Rs.350 billion debt — and most of the debt was from unorganized sector.

He said that banks in Punjab have not promoted debt swap scheme properly and most debt-ridden farmers could not benefit from this scheme.

Badal also sought cheaper food credit for the credit line extended by RBI for procurement of Rabi and Kharif crops.

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