MP minister apologises again for delay in loan waiver

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Bhopal, Feb 15 (IANS) For a second time in four months, a minister has apologised to the farmers for the delay in waiving off the farm loan in Madhya Pradesh.

General Administration Minister Govind Singh said: “We couldn’t fulfil our leader Rahul Gandhi’s promise to waive off farmers’ loan up to Rs 2 lakh within ten days of forming government in the state.”

The preceding chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had left the state in huge debts, the minister said during a government function at Bhind on Friday, while admitting to ‘delay and difficulties’ waving off the loans.

The minister said the opposition is accusing the government of betrayal. This is not true since the waiver is continuing. It is behind schedule due to the economic crisis. The minister offered loan waiver certificates to the farmers during the function.

Govind Sigh had in September had offered similar apology over delay in fulfilling the promise to the farmers.

During the elections rallies in 2018, Rahul Gandhi had said he would replace his party chief minister if the loan waiver scheme was not implemented in 10 days.

After Congress’ return in Madhya Pradesh, Kamal Nath government waived off loans worth Rs 7,000 crore of 21 lakh farmers in the first phase of the waiver scheme. However, most of the loans were of Rs 50,000 and less. The party in its manifesto had promised to waive off loans to the tune of Rs 2 lakh.

While the first phase saw loan waivers of Rs 7,154 crore, the loans amounting to Rs 11,675 crore were announced to be written off during the second phase in December 2019.

BJP has alleged the waiver of about Rs 18,600 crore after the second phase would mean fulfilment of only half the promise made by the then party leader.

The Union agriculture ministry had said in a reply in the Rajya Sabha in December last year that total loans to be waived in Madhya Pradesh were of about Rs 36,500 crore. “So, effectively, only 50 per cent of the promise will be met even a year after the government came to power,” a BJP leader has said.

The Congress government in Madhya Pradesh is going through financial difficulties after the Centre slashed the state’s share in the revenue.

“We are bearing the burden of previous BJP government and repaying Rs 14,000 crore debt drawn by the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government. During the last two financial years, the Centre has slashed the state’s share of the revenue. Presenting the state’s budget this time seem to be the most challenging job for me,” state Finance Minister Tarun Bhanot had said in Bhopal.

The state government has imposed a 50 per cent ceiling on expenditure for February and March, except on essentials such as salaries and scholarships, to meet the revenue shortfall expected after the Centre’s reduction in revenue share during the recent budget.

–IANS

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