Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday wrote to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman urging her to extend the moratorium on repayment of short-term.crop loans by farmers to December 31, 2021.
Gandhi also sought waiver of all penal interest on such loans.
He highlighted that farmers across the country are facing acute financial distress due to the pandemic.
The former Congress chief said his parliamentary constituency Wayanad in Kerala is home to a significant number of small and marginal farmers growing cash crops.
He said large parts of Kerala were devastated by two consecutive years of flooding in 2018 and 2019.
"Just as the farmers were on their road to recovery, the Covid pandemic struck. This has severely heightened agrarian distress. Currently, farmers avail short-term crop loans at a concessional rate under the interest subvention scheme.
"However, factors including multiple lockdowns, disruptions in the supply chain and limited market access have severely affected farm incomes," he said.
Gandhi said that mounting debt coupled with future economic uncertainty has affected the ability of farmers to repay their loan on time.
He said he has been receiving representations requesting for a moratorium on repayment of short-term crop loans from individuals and organisations in my constituency."Crores of farmers across India are similarly placed. In this backdrop, I request your kind intervention in extending the moratorium on repayment of short-term crop loans till December 31, 2021 and waive all penal interest," Gandhi said.