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Notice

Information Collection Activity; Comment Request

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Rural Utilities Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Notice and request for comments.

SUMMARY:

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. chapter 35, as amended), the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) invites comments on this information collection for which RUS intends to request approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

DATES:

Comments on this notice must be received by June 24, 2003.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

F. Lamont Heppe, Jr., Director, Program Development and Regulatory Analysis, Rural Utilities Service, 1400 Independence Ave., SW., STOP 1522, Room 4036 South Building, Washington, DC 20250-1522. Telephone: (202) 720-9550. FAX: (202) 720-4120.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) regulation (5 CFR part 1320) implementing provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-13) requires that interested members of the public and affected agencies have an opportunity to comment on information collection and recordkeeping activities (see 5 CFR 1320.8(d)). This notice identifies an information collection that RUS is submitting to OMB for reinstatement.

Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the Agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Comments may be sent to: F. Lamont Heppe, Jr., Director, Program Development and Regulatory Analysis, Rural Utilities Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, STOP 1522, 1400 Independence Ave., SW., Washington, DC 20250-1522. FAX: (202) 720-4120.

Title: 7 CFR 1717, Subpart Y, Settlement of Debt Owed by Electric Borrowers.

OMB Control Number: 0572-0116.

Type of Request: Extension of a currently approved information collection.

Abstract: The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) makes mortgage loans and loan guarantees to electric systems to provide and improve electric service in rural areas pursuant to the Rural Electrification Act of 1936, as amended (7 U.S.C. 901 et seq.) (RE Act). This information collection requirement stems from passage of Pub. L. 104-127, on April 4, 1996, which amended section 331(b) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (7 U.S.C. 1921 et seq.) to extend to RUS the Secretary of Agriculture's authority to settle debts with respect to loans made or guaranteed by RUS. Only those electric borrowers that are unable to fully repay their debts to the government and who apply to RUS for relief will be affected by this information collection.

The collection will require only that information which is essential for determining: the need for debt settlement; the amount of relief that is needed; the amount of debt that can be repaid; the scheduling of debt repayment; and, the range of opportunities for enhancing the amount of debt that can be recovered. The information to be collected will be similar to that which any prudent lender would require to determine whether debt settlement is required and the amount of relief that is needed. Since the need for relief is expected to vary substantially from case to case, so will the required information collection.

Estimate of Burden: Public reporting burden for this collection is estimated to average 3,000 hours per response.

Respondents: Not-for-profit institutions; Business or other for-profit institutions.

Estimated Number of Respondents: 1.

Estimated Number of Responses per Respondent: 1.

Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: 3,000 hours.

Copies of this information collection can be obtained from Michele Brooks, Program Development and Regulatory Analysis, at (202) 690-1078. FAX: (202) 720-4120

All responses to this notice will be summarized and included in the request for OMB approval. All comments will also become a matter of public record.

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Dated: April 18, 2003.

Hilda Gay Legg,

Administrator, Rural Utilities Service.

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[FR Doc. 03-10220 Filed 4-24-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-15-P