Farm debt waiver: RBI seeks info on action taken by banks
Mumbai: In view of serious observations made by official auditor CAG, the Reserve Bank today asked banks to submit information about the irregularities in the Rs 52,000 crore farm debt waiver scheme along with the details of amount recovered and FIRs filed.
RBI has asked the banks to provide information with regard to the scheme in a prescribed format by 7th working day of every month, the central bank said in a notification.
The Performance Audit report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on the debt waiver and debt relief scheme 2008 has rocked Parliament leading to adjournment of the Lok Sabha.
The CAG report, which was tabled in Parliament yesterday, has found number of shortcomings in the implementation of the Rs 52,000 crore farm debt waiver scheme pointing out that thousands of beneficiaries were not eligible while those eligible were denied the benefits.
Amidst the ongoing controversy, RBI has asked banks to provide information in tabular form with regard to ineligible beneficiaries, the eligible beneficiaries who were denied loans, money given to microfinance institutions, tampering of records and cases where relief certificates were not issued.
Besides, the banks will also be asked to provide details of amount recovered, FIRs lodged, responsibilities fixed and action taken. The banks will also have to provide reasons in case they fail to take appropriate action and file FIRs.
The CAG report also discloses violation of the guidelines for implementation of the scheme with a private schedule commercial bank shown to have received reimbursement for loan of Rs 164 crore extended to Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs).
There was also prima facie evidence of tampering, over writing and alteration of records, the CAG report said.
It noted that "the monitoring of the scheme was also found to be deficient".
It has recommended immediate corrective measures to take action like recovery of money paid to ineligible beneficiaries and loans extended to MFIs, action against bank official and auditors and filing of FIRs in cases of tampering of records, issue of debt waiver and debt relief certificates to farmers.
Pointing out errors of inclusion and exclusion, the report said: "Out of 9,334 accounts test checked in audit across nine states, 1,257 accounts (13.46 percent) were those which were found in audit to be eligible for benefit under the scheme, but were not considered by the lending institutions while preparing list of eligible farmers".
Further out of 80,299 accounts granted debt waiver or relief, in "8.5 percent of cases, the beneficiaries were not eligible for either debt waiver or the debt relief".
The report deals with Agricultural Debt Waiver and Debt Relief Scheme (ADWDRS) 2008 under which 3.69 crore small and marginal farmers and 60 lakh other farmers were given debt relief to the extent of Rs 52,516 crore.