By Nirmal Jain Have you seen the glee in the eyes of politicians when they announce loan waiver schemes for farmers? No prizes for guessing whether their eyes are filled with mercy for farmers or avarice for votes. A few weeks ago, the chairperson of the largest state-owned bank sensibly voiced her concern that the loan waiver could upset credit discipline. Some of the legislators had the audacity to demand her apology for this. For them, we are reminded of Jesus’ last words ‘Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing’. But there are many people in the government and bureaucracy who know what they are doing. The smaller issue is that they are making bad banks, worse. The larger issue is if the Indian farmer is destined to live in destitution and die in debt? Let us take the smaller issue first. In theory, the burden of loan waiver is borne by the state governments. Its immediate impact may be a slight fall in NPAs but it does spoil credit culture and makes all lenders reluctant to lend them save for statutory obligations. The last loan waiver was done in 2008. The farm sector NPAs… Read full this story
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