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Farm loan scam: Stringent action will be taken, says PM

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has promised "stringent possible action" against defaulters, if any, in the farm loan waiver scheme.

BT Online Bureau | March 6, 2013 | Updated 13:21 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday promised "stringent possible action" against defaulters, if any, in the farm loan waiver scheme.

Singh's assurance came in the Rajya Sabha as BJP created uproar over the alleged "siphoning off" of farmers' money and a "scam" in the scheme in the wake of a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).

"The reference is to the CAG report on loan waiver scheme. This is a matter which should be entrusted to the Public Accounts Committee as per normal practice. If there are any irregularities, which have been shown, I assure the House that we will take stringent possible action against the defaulters," Singh said in impromptu comments.

His statement came after BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad raised the issue during Zero Hour, alleging scam in the scheme and his colleagues attacked the government over it.

Unimpressed by the Prime Minister's reply, BJP members trooped into the well forcing Deputy Chairman P J Kurien to adjourn the House for a brief period.

Earlier, Prasad said the CAG report points out that 34 lakh people who should not have got the loan waiver benefit actually got it while 24 lakh farmers who deserved it, could not get it.

"It is a case of clear scam. Bank officials in connivance with the middlemen siphoned off the money of farmers," Prasad said, recalling that the Prime Minister himself had visited Vidharbha in Maharashtra to launch the scheme.

"It is unfortunate that a scam is happening even in this scheme," Prasad said, adding micro-financing companies are the actual beneficiaries at the cost of farmers even as incidents of farmers' suicides are taking place in many states including Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.

With inputs from PTI

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