In the wake of farmer suicides in flood-hit Idukki district and elsewhere in Kerala, the state government on Wednesday asked all banks to stop recovery proceedings and extend the moratorium on loans till the end of this calendar year.
However, farmers and the Opposition described the moratorium as a temporary respite, and demanded that loans of all farmers in distress be written off.
After a meeting of the State Level Bankers Committee (SLBC), chaired by CM Pinarayi Vijayan, Agriculture Minister V S Sunil Kumar told the media that banks have agreed to extend the moratorium on all farm and non-farm loans until December 31. Banks will not go ahead with recovery of bad loans during the period.
Kumar said that during the period, banks have been asked to give fresh loans for farmers. The government will bear one-year interest on such fresh loans. “At present, only cooperative banks come under the purview of the debt relief commission. The SLBC has positively responded to the government suggestion…” he said.