New Delhi, Dec 20 (IANS) Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Thursday hit back at Congress President Rahul Gandhi for his comments on farm loan waivers and underlined that the Assam scheme has “nothing to do with Congress policy of debt waiver”.
He stressed that the Assam government announced the scheme to commemorate 125 years of agrarian uprising (of Patharughat) and not to copy the Congress governments in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, as being claimed by Rahul Gandhi.
“We have come up with a different model. As of now, the industry gets working subsidy but farmers don’t get such subsidy. Now we have decided that our farmers will get a permanent subsidy of 25 per cent on the loan they get from the bank. It is not debt waiver,” Sarma said.
“This will be a permanent continuous scheme unlike loan waivers announced during poll times. We want to keep them (farmers) in the banking system. In case of loan waivers, the bank may deny them loan the next time,” he added.
Sarma said that the second scheme is that of interest subvention on farm loans.
“The Central government gives 4 per cent interest subsidy. We have decided the state government would give subsidy of another 4 per cent. So in this way, the farmers would have an interest-free loans with a capital subsidy of 25 per cent,” he said.
Hitting out at Rahul Gandhi, Sarma said: “What does Rahul Gandhi know of this agrarian uprising in Assam that happened in 1894? It is an emotional, sentimental and cultural issue for the Assamese people.”
On Wednesday, Rahul Gandhi had tweeted: “The Congress party has managed to wake the Chief Ministers of Assam and Gujarat from their deep slumber. Prime Minister is still asleep. We will wake him up, too.”
His tweet came after the BJP governments in Assam and Gujarat announced waiver of farm loans and rural electricity bills, respectively.