Irregularities in loan waiver scheme: Chidambaram

New Delhi, Aug 27 (IANS) Irregularities of Rs.230 crore have been found in the government's Rs.52,000-crore farm loan waiver scheme, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram told the Rajya Sabha Tuesday.

"Around 37.3 million farmers benefited from the scheme. In a scheme of this scale and magnitude, there will be errors of inclusion and exclusion," he said during question hour.

"Irregularities have been found in 336,516 accounts involving Rs.230 crore," he said, adding the Reserve Bank of India and the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development are examining the accounts.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's United Progressive Alliance government had announced a debt waiver for farmers across the country in 2008, a move analysts say was among those that helped the government win the 2009 general elections.

The Comptroller and Auditor General, in its report tabled in parliament on the "Implementation of Agricultural Debt Waiver and Debt Relief Scheme, 2008" in March had said there were irregularities in at least one in five cases.

The finance minister assured the house the government has asked the banks to "look sympathetically" at cases where real beneficiaries have not benefited from the scheme.

"Action is being taken and nobody will be spared," he added.

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