Fund farm loan waiver from own kitty, states told

Move to nip in the bud demands made by various political parties

Fund farm loan waiver from own kitty, states told

States should not seek a Central bailout for farmers’ loans, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Thursday. In a statement, the finance minister sought to nip in the bud demands made by various political parties for a pan-India farm loan waiver following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s electoral promise that the BJP would waive off farmers’ debts in Uttar Pradesh if voted to power. This was interpreted by many that the Centre was financing farm loan waiver.

“States will have to look for resources if they want to go ahead in this direction (loan waiver).

A situation will not emerge where the Centre will help one state and leave out the other,” Jaitley said, replying to the debate on the Finance Bill in the Rajya Sabha.

Legislators from various states raised the issue of agrarian crisis in Parliament and demanded a loan waiver by the Centre across the country.

Capt meets Modi
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh met the prime minister and sought a special package for the debt-ridden farmers of Punjab.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis too met Jaitley last week and suggested a formula to waive off farmers’ debts in his state with central help. Jaitley, however, made it clear in the Upper House that the Centre will continue with its schemes such as interest subsidy to farmers in the states as it has done in the past. However, there would be no debt waiver financing by the Centre for state farmers.

A recent State Bank of India (SBI) report revealed that the UP government will need Rs 27,500 crore to waive off farm loans.

SBI chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya too had recently flagged the negative effects of a loan waiver on the credit repayment culture among farmers.

In 2008, the UPA government at the Centre had financed  Rs 60,000 crore debt waiver package for small and marginal farmers following which India’s fiscal deficit went up to an all time high.

Jaitley also sought suggestions from parties to improve electoral funding further, but rejected a suggestion for making PAN and Aadhaar mandatory for cash donations.

Rs 5k crore for 10 disaster-hit states  
The Centre has approved Rs 5,020.64 crore for rehabilitation work in 10 states hit by various natural disasters like floods, cloudburst, hailstorms, landslides, cyclones and drought, DHNS reports from New Delhi.

A meeting of the high level committee chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh approved the central assistance, including Rs 171.69 crore for Karnataka for crop losses due to excess rains in some districts. The committee approved assistance to Tamil Nadu (Rs 2014.45 crore), Bihar (Rs 822.96 crore), Andhra Pradesh (Rs 584.21 crore), Rajasthan (Rs 370.27 crore), Telangana (Rs 314.22 crore) and Uttar Pradesh (Rs 303.05 crore).

It also cleared Rs 269.40 crore for Assam, Rs 152.28 crore for Himachal Pradesh and Rs 19.11 crore for Manipur. Karnataka had sought Rs 362 crore to help farmers who lost their crops to excess rains in Bidar, Kalaburagi and Yadgir.

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