A special meeting of the Cabinet on Tuesday decided to extend the moratorium on loans taken by farmers from the public sector, commercial and cooperative banks. This will be applicable for all types of loans-including those for non-agricultural purposes- taken by the farmers till December 31. The Cabinet meeting was convened in the wake of farmer suicides in Wayanad and Idukki districts.
"All the farmers in the state will get the benefit for the loan they availed till March 31, 2014. At the same time, for the farmers of Idukki and Wayanad and where recent incidents of farmer suicides have been reported, the moratorium on the loans they took will be extended till August 31, 2018,” Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said at a press conference post the Cabinet meeting.
Nine per cent interest on the loans for long-term crops will be borne from the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund for a year. Agriculture and Planning departments have been assigned to examine if commercial banks can be brought under the Farmers' Debt Relief Commission.
“It has also been decided to immediately sanction Rs 85 crore as compensation for the farm loss caused by natural calamities. For this, Rs 54 crore will be allotted from the CM's Distress Relief Fund. The crisis in the market caused by rain-related calamities, decrease in the prices of farm products, demonetisation and also the rolling out of GST, have adversely impacted the agricultural sector. Nationwide protests have been emerging for not adopting an approach at the national level by accepting these realities,” the CM said.
Earlier, the government had asked bankers to not attach properties in the regions affected by the floods.
Reservation for financially backward dominant caste
The cabinet also decided to appoint a commission to fix the criteria for backwardness of dominant caste people.
“This is against the backdrop of the government’s decision to provide reservation for the financially backward people among the dominant caste, as per the promises made by the Left Democratic Front in its election manifesto. The Commission should submit recommendations in three months. Retired district judge K Sasidharan Nair and Advocate K Rajagopalan Nair have been appointed as the Commission members,” the CM said.
Assistance for those who lost homes in the floods
For those who lost homes in the floods and those who are living in Puramboke, they will be provided government land of minimum three cents and five cents if the land is available in the block they are living. If the government land is not available, Rs 6 lakh will be allocated for purchasing land of minimum three cents. They will also be given Rs 4 lakh for building a house. The money for this will be provided from the CM's Distress Relief Fund.