Punjab starts one time loan settlement scheme for farmers

North Gazette News/Chandigarh
Punjab government on Thursday announced to start one time loan settlement scheme for dairy farmers who are not able repay their loans so far.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today gave nod to pro-dairy farmer initiative to give impetus to the Dairy Farming sector in the state to promote crop diversification program.

It is pertinent to mention here that Badal had acceded to the request of the Dairy entrepreneurs to introduce OTS to bail them out from the financial distress owing to pending loans advanced to them by the various Central Cooperative Banks across the state.

Badal said that the objective of the OTS for Dairy farmers was to provide major reprieve to the borrowers who had taken Dairy loans from Central Cooperative Banks and were unable to repay their dues due to certain compelling circumstances on one hand and to enable them to clear their dues as per terms specified in the scheme on the other.

“The said scheme would cover all Dairy loans which have become NPAs (Non Performing Assets) as on or before March 31, 2010. The scheme would also encompass the cases where suites have been filed and also the cases where decrees have been obtained. After the settlement was reached CCBs may take appropriate steps for closure of such cases in respective courts. However, the scheme would not cover cases of fraud, malfeasance and wilful defaulters,” he said.

Elaborating the eligibility criteria the spokesperson further stipulated that the borrowers of CCBs who have taken Dairy loans and whose accounts have become NPA as on before March 31, 2010 would be eligible for relief under this scheme. They would be eligible for relief even if arbitration references have been filed, awards have been obtained and execution proceedings have been initiated.

Divulging the details of concession under settlement formula/ relief, the spokesperson said that where the amount of loan advanced was more than Rs 50000, simple rate of interest @ 10% per annum would be charged from the date of asset becoming NPA in the books of the bank.

Likewise, where the amount of loan advanced was upto Rs 50,000 simple interest @ 8% would be charged from the date of asset becoming NPA in the books of the bank. Provided that the total interest charged should not exceed the principal loan amount advanced to him. However, there would be no concession regarding payment of principal amount.

At least 25% of the settlement amount would be paid upfront and the balance amount could be paid in 30 days or in installments. In case the balance amount was paid in a period of 30 days then no interest should be charged on it upto 30 days from the date of settlement. In case the balance amount was paid within 30 days of settlement, the balance amount of 75% should be paid in lump sum or in instalments within a maximum period of one year together with interest settled under the scheme. However, in case the balance 75% amount was not paid within the stipulated period, the settlement would stand cancelled and all legal proceedings initiated for recovery of loan would stand restored.
The borrower settling the dues under the scheme would be eligible for fresh loan only after the settled amount was fully paid. A screening committee comprising Deputy Registrar Cooperative Societies as its Chairman and Managing Director of CCB as its member besides District Manager of CCB and Senior Auditor (Audit) Cooperative Societies as its member convenor and member respectively has been authorised to screen the beneficiaries for settlement of loans as per the guidelines of the scheme.

The screening committee would consider each case referred to it and if found fit it would approve and send its recommendations to the Revisional authority who would be the Joint Registrar, Cooperative societies concerned. In case his application for settlement of loan was rejected by the committee, the applicant could further approach the concerned Joint Registrar Cooperative societies of the Division against such rejection who would decide the case on merit.