New Delhi: With the opposition targeting the government on alleged irregularities in the farm loan waiver scheme, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today promised "stringent possible action" against defaulters, if any.
The Prime Minister'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 the CAG report. "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.