Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Tuesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take an urgent action for waiving off farmers’ loans from nationalised, commercial and land development banks coming under the Centre’s purview. He said the Modi government, which wrote off industrialists’ loans worth ₹7.95 lakh crore in its first tenure, had not provided any relief to farmers.
In a letter addressed to Mr. Modi, Mr. Gehlot said the Congress government in Rajasthan had enforced a loan waiver of ₹14,000 crore, including ₹6,000 crore announced by the previous BJP regime, by which over 20.56 lakh farmers had benefited.
Mr. Gehlot refuted Mr. Modi’s recent charge that the farmers in the State were still waiting for debt relief. The Prime Minister had made the claim while addressing a farmers’ meeting in Madhya Pradesh virtually on December 18 to defend the three new agriculture sector laws and attacked the Congress for not fulfilling its promise for loan waiver.
“The reality is that there not a single farmer who is waiting for loan waiver from cooperative banks functioning under the Rajasthan government,” Mr. Gehlot said and pointed out that only those cultivators who had obtained loans from nationalised and commercial banks had not received the benefit because of the Centre’s failure to take action.
Mr. Gehlot reminded Mr. Modi that the UPA government had waived ₹72,000 crore in farm loans across the country and asked why the NDA government was not taking a similar initiative. “It is an irony that the BJP leaders are provoking the farmers in Rajasthan by creating confusion among them, but no positive dialogue has been made with those agitating for more than a month.”
“There is a tremendous anger among the farmers against the government because of its failure to address the issues raised by them… The NDA’s promise of doubling the income of farmers is also not likely to be fulfilled, looking at the policies of your government and the present conditions,” Mr. Gehlot wrote in the letter.