- Farmers loans seems like a never ending problem
- Many farmers commit suicide due to money crisis
- Govt will decide rate of interest now
- Bill is to prevent farmers from falling in trap of unlicensed money lenders
In an atmosphere of never ending money crisis for farmers, Punjab Govt on Thursday decided to table a new Bill in the legislative assembly that will help in taming unauthorized and unlicensed money lenders in Punjab. According to a report, many farmers have consistently failed in repaying the loans that they received through legal channels like Banks, due to this, their CIBIL score is affected badly and no bank agrees to lend them further money. Such poor farmers who are not able to get loans from banks, ultimately becomes an easy prey of unlicensed money lenders. This vicious circle seems to have no permanent solution so far.
Watching this, Captian Amrinder lead Government in Punjab has decided to introduce a new Bill termed as Punjab Settlement of Agricultural Indebtedness Bill, 2018. The Bills has provisions that curbs unlicensed money lenders and make it illegal for such a person to lend money to any farmer. Only licensed money lenders will be allowed to lend money and that should also be under the rate of interest as decided by the Government.
The Bill seeks to fix the amount that can be lent out based on the amount of land one owns. The rate of interest for such money lenders is to be fixed by Government itself. Many farmers in Punjab are still waiting for receiving loan waivers as was promised to them by the Government.
According to a statement from officials, the new bill seeks to look after the interests of debt trodden farmers of Punjab by saving them from the claws of money lenders who charges outragous and unreasonable rates of interests from such uninformed farmers. Having being already rejected by the banks, when such farmers are not even able to pay money back to their lenders, they turn to commit suicide facing intense pressure and unconstitutional means of recovery adopted by such money lenders.
“The Bill is aimed at protecting the interests of farmers in the event of a sudden fall in prices of certain agricultural commodities below normal prices. It will bring about amendments to Section 25 (A), 26 and 28 of the Punjab Agricultural Produce Markets Act, 1961.”
This is defenitly a welcome move and more strict steps needs to be taken in order to bring more releif to farmers. The Bill will be tabled in Punjab Vidhan Sabha today. If the Bill becomes an act, it will only allow licensed money lenders to move Debt Settlement Forums, headed by Commissioners. Money lenders will have to submit the proof of amount that he is yet to recover from the borrower. Earlier, money lenders were lending unlimited amount of money, which lead to problems while recovering it back. With the new Bill, farmers will only be allowed to receive money in proportions to land they own.
Government in Punjab has also decided to cut down on the numbers of Debt Settlement Forums in the state from 22 to just 5.