Taking serious note of lapses detected by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in the farm loan waiver scheme, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Wednesday assured that stringent possible action will be taken against the erring officials.
"If irregularities are found, we will take stringent possible action," he told the Rajya Sabha, while intervening in the debate on the concerned matter.
Dr. Singh also said the matter will first be examined by the Parliament's Public Accounts Committee.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Ravi Shankar Prasad, who raised this issue earlier, demanded as to what action has been taken since the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) directed the concerned scheduled banks in January this year to initiate recovery of dues and take action against culpable officials within 15 days.
Prasad, who is the Deputy Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, alleged this has taken the dimensions of a scam.
In a report tabled in parliament yesterday, the CAG pointed out that several ineligible farmers were favoured and a large number of deserving small and marginal farmers left out in implementation of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government's Rs. 52,000-crore farm loan waiver scheme.
The CAG performance audit report of the 2008 agricultural debt relief scheme, revealed irregularities in more than 20 percent of the cases test checked by it. The auditor carried out scrutiny of 90,576 debt waiver accounts, out of which it found serious lapses in as many as 20,216 cases, or about in 22.32 percent of the test cases.
The scheme, meant to help indebted farmers in districts where suicides occur, was so haphazard and faulty in implementation that no records were maintained of farmers' applications accepted or rejected by lending institutions or how many farmers were given fresh loans as a result of debt waiver/relief, it said.
This has led the CAG to raise 'serious concerns about the implementation of the scheme', which is credited of helping the UPA Government's return to power a year later in 2009. (ANI)