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The Punjab Government requested the Reserve Bank of India that it should impress upon Public Sector banks to aggressively promote Agricultural Debt Swap scheme to free the farmers from the clutches of moneylenders.
The Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal raised this issue when Dr D Subbarao, Governor, RBI called on him. The Deputy Chief Minister impressed upon the Governor that the Punjab farmers reeling under Rs 35000 crore debt and most of the debt was from unorganised sector. He said that banks in Punjab have not promoted debt swap scheme properly in the state and most of the debt ridden farmers could not benefit from this scheme. The RBI Governor assured the Deputy Chief Minister that he would impress upon banks to properly promote the scheme.
The Deputy Chief Minister also sought cheaper food credit for the credit line extended by RBI for procurement of Rabi as well as kharif crops. He said that Punjab was feeding the nation by contributing 70 per cent in the national food kitty and was availing average Rs 14000 crore for each crop twice a year. He said that RBI should consider lowering interest rate on food credit as every effort by state to increase food production results in higher interest out go from the state.