Wednesday, 14 Aug, 7.40 am National Herald

Rahul Gandhi asks RBI Guv to extend moratorium on Kerala farmers' loans

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has urged RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das to extend the moratorium on Kerala farmers' loans till December 31 this year, citing devastating floods and drop in global commodity prices of cash crops.

In a letter to Das, Gandhi, who is a Lok Sabha member from Kerala's Wayanad constituency, said that the banks' persistence with recovery of loans without any relief has driven farmers to the brink with many committing suicide.

"Almost a year back, Kerala witnessed the worst floods in over a century. The devastating impact of the flood is further compounded by the farmers' inability to repay the agricultural loans on account of widespread crop loss and extensive damage to other productive assets," Gandhi said in the letter.

He said that in addition to floods, external factors like the sharp drop in global commodity prices of cash crops has adversely affected the ability of the farmers to bounce back.

"Kerala has witnessed a tragic spate of farmers' suicides in the aftermath of banks initiating recovery proceedings against helpless farmers. Despite the demand from the state government and the opposition parties to extend the moratorium on repayment of loans to December 31, 2019, the state level Bankers' Committee has refused to consider the demand. I request the RBI to take measures to extend the moratorium on repayment to December 31, 2019," he said.

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