Serious lapses and errors in over 20 per cent cases test-checked; many deserving farmers left out
When the UPA government announced its agricultural loan waiver scheme in 2008 to give relief to small and marginal farmers by writing off their loans, it was criticised as a gimmick to capture votes in an election year. Now the Comptroller Auditor General (CAG) of India has criticised the way in which the scheme was implemented.
The chief auditor of the country has found gross irregularities in the implementation of Rs 50,000-crore Agricultural Debt Waiver and Debt Relief Scheme (ADWDRS). In the CAG report that was tabled in Parliament Tuesday, the government auditor said that while carrying out the performance audit of 90,576 cases under the scheme, it found that 20,216 cases have either lapsed or had errors.
The CAG report cites several cases where deserving farmers were left out while ineligible farmers were given benefits. Under the scheme, 36.9 million small and marginal farmers, along with 6 million other farmers were given debt relief to the tune of Rs 52,516 crore. The report was tabled by the ministry of finance through its minister of state.
“Overall, the Performance Audit revealed that in... (22.32 per cent of cases test-checked) there were lapses/errors which raised serious concern about the implementation of the scheme.” Besides, the report reveals that there are several cases where farmers who had taken loan for non-agricultural purposes or whose loans did not meet eligibility conditions, were given benefits under the scheme.
Out of the 9,334 accounts examined by CAG across nine states, as many as 1,257 accounts were not eligible for benefits which were around 13.46 per cent. It further adds that of the 80,299 accounts granted debt waiver, about 8.5 per cent were not eligible as a result of which Rs 20.5 crore was disbursed among ineligible persons.
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