Thursday, February 21, 2013

Cabinet decides to exempt loans of up to Rs 30,000 for farmers

The cabinet today decided to exempt loans of up to Rs 30,000 taken by small farmers, which will add liability on the government and increase financial indiscipline in government owned banks promoting the culture of non-payment of loans.
"Farmers who have borrowed up to Rs 30,000 from government banks need not repay their loans," according to the cabinet decision. However, the populist decision will promote indiscipline as it will send a negative message to borrowers that the government will exempt loans and they need not repay. The move will effect Rastriya Banijya Bank (RBB), Agriculture Development Bank Ltd (ADBL), and rural development banks.
Earlier too, when incumbent prime minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai was the finance minister in 2008, he had exempted loans of up to Rs 50,000 for farmers affected by the conflict, adding a liability of Rs 5.97 billion on the government.
Likewise, the cabinet also approved its much ambitious Poor Family Identity Cards distribution regulation that will pave way for the distribution of cards to poor families to avail government facilities. However, the government has not yet been able to package the facilities that it will offer to card holders.
Earlier, Poverty Alleviation Fund (PAF) had identified 25 districts for the first phase of the distribution of identity cards to poor households on the basis of the number of poor households, Small Area Estimation prepared by Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), and some 12 analysis of the third Nepal Living Standards Survey last September.
However, after PAF vice chair Janak Raj Sharma resigned, the programme was halted.
According to PAF, the identity cards were planned to be distributed in three phases with 25 districts in each phase. Poor households will get one of the three colour identity cards — for those who do not have enough to eat for three months, six months and nine months — and the government will provide subsidies and relief packages accordingly.
According to CBS, around 25.16 per cent of the total population of 26.6 million — meaning a quarter of the total population — live below the poverty line as they earn less than Rs 54 a day. The national poverty line has been calculated on the basis of consumption which mentions that a person needs 2,220 calories of food per day.

Mt Everest diamond jubilee celebration committee
KATHMANDU: The cabinet on Thursday formed a committee led by minister for culture, tourism and civil aviation Posta Bahadur Bogati to celebrate the diamond jubilee to mark the first ascent on Mt Everest. Every year the government marks May 29 as Sagarmatha Diwas — Mt Everest Day — to commemorate the first ascent of the highest peak in the world by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa on May 29, 1953. This year is the 60th year of the first ascent of Mt Everest.


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