Crop loan waiver: TS keeps its options open

By: B. Chandrashekhar

The Government of Telangana is keeping its options open on one-time-settlement (OTS) of the remaining half of the Rs.17,000-crore crop loan waiver by repaying Rs. 8,500 crore to banks at one go with fund-pooling, even as the Finance Department has proposed to allocate only Rs. 4,250 crore in the 2016-17 budget that estimates to meet the third quarter of the loan waiver.

Sources in the Commercial Taxes Department told recently that they have instructions from the Chief Minister’s Office to speed up settlement of cases to clear about Rs. 4,500 crore tax arrears from traders and commercial establishments so that the accruals could be pooled-up for supporting the crop loan waiver scheme.

The government was relying mostly on the Commercial Taxes Department for mobilising funds for the purpose since the issue is likely to be raked up again by the Opposition parties during the budget session of the legislature.

Apart from the tax revenue, the State government is said to be keeping its hopes on the revenue from sale of lands in and around Hyderabad, from regularisation of lands and settlement of land-related cases pending in courts and has asked the departments concerned to spare funds for crop loan waiver.

The Commercial Taxes officials were issued clear instructions to get all dues cleared by the end of the current financial year so that the realised funds could help the government to silence the Opposition on the crop loan waiver issue, the sources said.

A special drive conducted in October had yielded good results by getting a sizeable dues cleared and the department has been planning to launch another such campaign by the month-end, by which the third quarter of the current financial year comes to an end. Sources stated that the State government had explored various options to implement OTS immediately after the September-October legislature session.

Source: The Hindu

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