Serious lapses in farm loan waiver scheme: CAG

New Delhi


The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has said there were serious lapses and malpractices in implementing the government's Rs.52,000 crore ($9.5 billion) farm loan waiver scheme in 2008.

In a report tabled in parliament Tuesday on the "Implementation of Agricultural Debt Waiver and Debt Relief Scheme, 2008" CAG said there were irregularities in at least one in five cases.

"Overall, the performance audit revealed that in 20,216 or 22.32 percent of the 90,576 cases test checked in audit, there were lapses/errors which raised serious concerns about the implementation of the scheme," the CAG said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government had announced a debt waiver for farmers across the country in 2008, a move that analysts say helped the government win the 2009 general election.

The scheme was originally estimated to benefit 3.69 crore marginal and small farmers and 60 lakh other farmers.

Over the last four financial years the government has waived more than Rs.52,000 crore related to approximately 3.45 crore small, marginal and other farmers.

"It was found that out of the 9,334 accounts test checked in audit across nine states, 1,257 accounts, or 13.46 percent were such who were found to be eligible for benefit of Rs.3.58 crore under the scheme, but were not considered by the lending institutions while preparing the list of eligible beneficiaries," the government's official auditor said. - IANS