Farmers flock to gold-backed loans in India
Mumbai-India (July 21) Farmers in Andhra Pradesh appear to have taken more loans by pledging gold bars and ornaments, than loans from banks for purely agricultural purposes. Some have even diverted the agri loan and bought gold.
According to official records, up to March 31, 2014, farmers have taken loans worth $5.7 billion (Rs 348 billion) by putting up gold as collateral, while $4.2 billion (Rs 257 billion) was taken as crop loans.
In their review meetings, bank officials have noted that a majority of the loans, particularly by pledging gold, were taken by farmers after January 2014. Officials said the reason for this could be attributed to the fact that the interest rate on loans meant for agriculture is far less, than other loans like personal loans, education loans, or home building loans, etc.
Another reason for the rising number of loans was Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu’s election promise of waiving off all farm loans after coming to power. This spurred farmers to go all out and take more loans, with some diverting loans, ostensibly taken for agriculture, to actually buy bullion.