States should waive farm loans: Agriculture Minister

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New Delhi, March 30 (IANS) Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh on Thursday said states should consider loan waiver for farmers after the Congress in Lok Sabha demanded that the Centre announce the measure across the country.

The issue was raised by Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia soon after Question Hour.

“This government says Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas (inclusive development) but the farmer is only committing suicide,” Scindia said.

He said the way the BJP promised farm loan waiver in Uttar Pradesh, the Centre should do that across the country.

“We demand that farmers’ loans should be waived off,” he said.

Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, however, said the government has given Rs 15,000 crore from the disaster fund in 2015-16, and added that states had received more funds from the Finance Commission this year, so states can take the step.

“Our sympathy and support is with the farmers,” the minister said.

“In Uttar Pradesh, BJP said they would waive loans for marginal farmers… As far as loan waiver is concerned, I will be happy if any state does that. States have got lot of money from the Finance Commission,” the minister said.

He also pointed out that farm loan waiver given by the UPA government in 2008 did not have much effect on farmers’ suicides.

“You gave farm loan waiver in 2008. In 2008, suicides due to agricultural distress were 13 per cent of all suicides. In 2009, it was 13.7 per cent. Now it is around 9.4 per cent,” he said.

–IANS

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