New Delhi: The government on Thursday slashed the
interest subsidy given to farmers on crop loans by one
percentage point to two per cent for this fiscal, a move that
is expected to bring down burden on the Central exchequer by
Rs 311 crore.
According to the decision, taken by the Union Cabinet
today, the government will pay two per cent interest subsidy
to banks, against three per cent in the last fiscal, for
granting short-term crop loan to farmers at a concessional
rate of 7 per cent, Information and Broadcasting Minister
Ambika Soni told reporters here.
The subvention is available for crop loans up to Rs three
lakh for one year and will be given to PSU banks, regional
rural banks (RRBs) and cooperative credit institutions (CCIs)
on their lending as well as to NABARD for refinancing RRBs and
The financial implication due to the interest subsidy on
farm loans will be Rs 4,000 crore this fiscal compared to
Rs 4,311 crore in 2008-09, she said.
However, farmers who have been paying back their credit
promptly would continue to get loans at six per cent, which
means an additional interest subsidy of one per cent.
The government also revised upwards the target for loan
disbursements to the agriculture sector to Rs 3,25,000 crore
for the current fiscal from Rs 2,80,000 crore a year ago, of
which Rs 2,00,000 crore is estimated for the loans on crop.
In the Budget speech this year, Finance Minister Pranab
Mukherjee said, "I propose to continue the interest subvention
scheme for short-term crop loans to farmers for loans up to Rs
3 lakh per farmer at the interest rate of 7 per cent per
The government exchequer is under pressure due to the
slowing economy as well as extension of stimulus packages.
Fiscal deficit is estimated to be around 6.8 per cent of GDP