Saturday, Jul 19, 2003
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By Our Staff Correspondent
Addressing a press conference here on Friday, he said the Central Government's decision to cut the interest rate on crop loans to nine per cent from 14-18 per cent was not a sop as it had a ceiling of Rs.50,000. The decision would not benefit small farmers who had to invest more than Rs.1 lakh on farm inputs and irrigation pumpsets, besides investing on seeds and fertilizers.
The Government should have brought down the interest rate on crop loans on a par with industrial and housing loans. Now it had become clear that all these years farmers were being `exploited' as banks charged an `exorbitant' interest rate on crop loans, he alleged.
The Centre had ignored the cane-growers in other States as it had announced a Rs.600-crore package only for Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Uttaranchal. This was nothing but a `political gimmick'. In fact, Rs. 2, 800 crores, collected as cess, was available with the Union Government to help States provide succour to cane farmers, who were facing difficulties due to the failure of sugar mills to clear their dues.
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