Yavatmal (Maharashtra), March 10 (IANS) In a bid to pressurise banks to come clean on alleged irregularities in the farm loans scam, Vidarbha farmers and widows will resort to "beating drums" outside the local lead banks and district banks from Monday, an activist said here Sunday.
"We heartily welcome the Reserve Bank of India's move seeking all detail on the farm loans schemes from the local district banks and lead banks. Our agitation will be to remind them to comply within the stipulated RBI deadline," Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti chief Kishore Tiwari told IANS.
Tiwari said that normally, all such diktats are forgotten by the concerned authorities and also by the people within a few days, and the issues die a natural death.
"Not in this case where thousands of farmers have already died. We shall continue beating drums outside these errant banks till they comply with the RBI directives and reveal all the frauds that have taken place in this scheme," a grim Tiwari declared.
Last Tuesday (March 6), taking serious note of the CAG Report on Agricultural Debt Waiver and Debt Relief Scheme (ADW/DRS) of 2008, the RBI cracked the whip on all scheduled commercial and local area banks seeking complete details on farm loans.
In a letter to the chiefs of all scheduled commercial and local area banks, the RBI sought the beneficiaries' lists with complete verification with priority to areas where indebtedness was high.
It also asked for a list of eligible beneficiaries who were not extended benefits, with reasons for such denials, and action to be taken in all cases where malafides or carelessness appears likely.
Ordering the banks to issue Debt Waiver/Debt Relief certificates in all eligible cases immediately, the RBI asked them to keep full records of such issuance ready for inspection.
It has also said that the banks must identify the administrative/accounting lapses on the part of bank officials, internal auditors, statutory officials who were responsible for the verification, certification, or for passing the claims.
"Action needs to be initiated and full responsibility be fixed at the earliest with no exceptions," the RBI said.
The apex bank has also said that cases of extending benefits to ineligible beneficiaries must be dealt with 'on top priority' and full recoveries as per law must be made to ensure no loss to the exchequer. "It will be the personal responsibility of the institutional heads to ensure that such recoveries are effected in full," the RBI ordered.
Calling for identifying and scrutinising all cases of tampering of records or alternations, etc, by higher authority, the RBI has sought a decision on each such case in the form of speaking orders.
"Stringent action under relevant sections of law against those responsible must be initiated. This would be monitored by the CVOs (chief vigilance officers) of the concerned institutions regularly," it added.
The banks have been asked to comply with these issues in a monthly format which they are required to furnish by the seventh of each month.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), in its report tabled in parliament last Tuesday on the "Implementation of Agricultural Debt Waiver and Debt Relief Scheme, 2008", said there were irregularities in at least one in five cases, or nearly 20 percent of the Rs.52,000 crore scheme.