Noted farm activist Kishor Tiwari today said loan waivers and providing higher minimum support prices (MSPs) for agri products are no solution to agrarian crisis. There is now an unhealthy competition among states to announce farm loan waivers after the one declared by the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh soon after coming to power in the country’s most populous state, he said. Tiwari’s comments are significant as he is also the chairman of a special taskforce appointed by the Maharashtra government to address the prevailing agrarian crisis in the state. The BJP-ruled Maharashtra is among a clutch of state who have announced debt relief for farmers. In a statement issued here, Tiwari said loan waivers and higher MSPs for farm products are no solution for the agrarian crisis in the age of globalisation.
“Loan waiver will certainly hamper the ongoing development works in Maharashtra,” said Tiwari, whose NGO Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) has been highlighting agrarian distress in Vidarbha and also tracking farmer suicides in the region. Regions like Vidarbha and Marathwada in Maharashtra have a large area under rain-fed condition. Erratic monsoon causes drought in these regions, resulting in crop failure and leading to farmer suicides, he said. “This could be addressed permanently by involving new crop patterns and encouraging farmers to undertake organic farming by using indigenous seeds,” Tiwari suggested.
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A farm loan waiver does not provide condition for secure credit system in the long term. The loan waiver implies banks will have to be compensated by the government for the amount involved, the activist said. This, in turn, will hamper activities like strengthening agricultural infrastructure in irrigation and secondary support business in rural economy, he said.