New Delhi: The Centre said it would welcome if the new BJP government in Uttar Pradesh waives farm loans as promised by the party before the recent assembly polls.
Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said in Lok Sabha during Zero Hour that the central government has full sympathy for the distressed farmers and was providing assistance to them in whatever way it can. The Congress members later walked out of the House in protest against the Minister’s reply.
Raising the issue of farm loan waiver, Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia said the BJP had promised to waive farm loans in Uttar Pradesh before the state assembly polls but it is yet to make any announcement in this regard.
The Minister said there was a promise by the BJP to help the small and marginal farmers in Uttar Pradesh. “If the Uttar Pradesh government waives farm loans from its own exchequer, we will be happy and welcome it,” he said.
Scindia said even though the Centre has claimed that it stood for “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas”, farmers in Tamil Nadu were on the verge of committing suicide as there was 62 per cent less rainfall in the state.
In response, Singh said the central government has provided Rs 46,000 crore through the state disaster relief fund, so that the state can help farmers affected by different natural calamities whereas before 2014, the amount stood at just Rs 24,000 crore.
Dismissing Scindia’s allegations that states were not given enough funds for farmers, especially in Tamil Nadu, Singh said Tamil Nadu was given Rs 1,082 crore under the disaster relief fund in five years prior to 2014 while Rs 3,000 crore was given by the NDA government in last two years.
Referring to the demand for farm loan waiver across the country, the Minister said presently the rate of interest on agri loan was 9 per cent. The Centre gave two per cent subsidy on the interest. The interest rate is further subsidised by some of the state governments.
On suicides by farmers, Singh said as per the National Crime Records Bureau, among all suicides in the country, 15 per cent suicides were agriculture-related and it has come down to 9.4 per cent in 2015.
Unhappy over the Minister’s reply, the Congress staged a walk out of the House. (PTI)