Farm loan waiver demand: With reports of farm crisis coming from several states of the country, farmers’ associations are up in arms against the government seeking relief. Farmers are protesting at many places and demanding farm loan waivers. In April, Uttar Pradesh was the first state to announce a farm loan waiver with some conditions. Even as there has been a bumper crop this rabi season, following demonetisation, farmers across several states are in distress because of sharp fall in prices in both domestic and global markets. These have increased farmers’ woes, resulting into an agitation-like situation in the country.
Here are the top developments in the last few days across states as demand for farm loan waivers escalates:
Maharashtra waives loans of farmers
Maharashtra government on Sunday announced a loan waiver for farmers and decided to form a committee to decide the criteria of debt relief, after which cultivators called off their protests. The loan waiver is expected to be capped at Rs 1 lakh, according to a report by The Indian Express.
Arun Jaitley says states will have to bear farm loan waivers from own coffers
On Monday, Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley said the Centre will not partake in states’ fiscal leverage in waiving farm loans and made it clear that the cost has to be borne by them. “I have already made the position clear that states which want to go in for these kind of schemes (farm loan waivers) will have to generate them from their own resources. Beyond that the central government has nothing more to say,” Jaitley said in New Delhi.
Raju Shetti emerges as a strong leader in Maharashtra
With farmers forcing the Maharashtra government to announce a loan waiver, Swabhimani Paksha MP Raju Shetti has emerged as a strong leader in the state. He had turbulent equations with the ruling BJP, but now he has emerged as one of the leaders of the new coordination committee which effectively negotiated complete loan waiver for farmers in the state.
Haryana: Farmers refuse to call of agitation
On Monday, farmers in Haryana refused to withdraw their agitation, even as several demands of farmers were met in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. The farmers in Haryana, who have been agitating across the state, have decided to block national and state highways for three on June 16.
Haryana government may consider waiving off farm loans
Sources told IE that Haryana government may consider waiving off farm loans. The state government has already started the process of collecting details about the outstanding farm loans, particularly giver by the cooperative banks and societies to farmers.
Gujarat: Patidar man dies in custody. Congress protests, demands loan waiver
Ketan, a resident of Balol village near Mehsana, was in judicial custody at Mehsana Sub-Jail since June 4 in a theft case. He died at the Mehsana civil hospital on the night of June 5 within hours of admission. Congress party on Monday held state-wide protest rallies over several issues, including the custodial death of a Patidar man in Mehsana and demand for farm loan waiver. In its memorandum, Congress demanded total loan waiver for farmers in the state and right price for their produce along with free electricity and irrigation water.
In Punjab, farmers protest, demand loan waiver
On Monday, farmers in Punjab also staged protests across the state demanding waiver of farm loans and implementation of the Swaminathan Commission report for fixing minimum support price for produce. Activists of seven farmer outfits, including Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan), BKU (Dakunda), Krantikari Kisan Union, and Kisan Sangharsh Committee, staged dharnas at all district headquarters.
Punjab government may provide some relief to farmers in upcoming budget
The Punjab government is likely to provide some relief to distressed farmers in the upcoming budget. “There is going to be some provision in the budget with regard to relief (debt waiver for farmers)” a senior official said on Monday.
AAP to raise farmers’ woes in Punjab Assembly
AAP will raise the farmers’ woes during the budget session in Punjab Assembly, starting June 14. The party leaders will raise several issues including farmer suicide, farm loan waiver and mining mafia.
Maharashtra to disburse crop credit through PSUs in 16 districts
After agreeing to waive loans of farmers with certain riders, the Maharashtra government on Monday decided to disburse the crop credit through public sector banks in 16 districts where district central cooperative banks are in red due to financial mismanagement.
Uttar Pradesh: Farmers’ association seek Governor’s intervention to resolve their woes
A delegation of the Rashtriya Kisan Manch on Monday met Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik, seeking his intervention in resolving the farmers’ issues in the state, including loan waiver and payment of wheat and cane prices. “The BJP government had promised a loan waiver but as of now, there is no concrete policy in this direction. From 2014 to 2016, there was large-scale corruption in the disbursement of compensation to the farmers who suffered losses due hailstorm and if the same continues, the situation of the farmers will be pitiable,” a memorandum given to the Governor by RKM president Shekhar Dixit read.
Bihar: Nitish Kumar says loan waiver not the only solution to farmers’ woes
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said loan waiver was not the only solution to the “agrarian crisis” affecting several parts of the country. He said the NDA government should fulfill its poll promise and give production cost plus 50 per cent as minimum support price (MSP) to farmers.
Farm loan waivers disrupt credit discipline, says report
A report by Kotak Institutional Equities says farm loan waivers are “populist actions” and lead to disruption of credit discipline among borrowers. It says, frequent occurrence of such populist actions may lead to “risks of impaired credit discipline and weak risk-reward for banks” and reduced credit availability for borrowers.
Karnataka: Congress demands national policy on farm loans
In Karnataka on Sunday, Congress demanded that the central government formulate a national policy on farm loans. Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President G Parameshwara said that if there was a national policy, all states which now have different polices, would follow it. There would be uniformity in approach by both central and state governments when they waive such loans, he said.
Madhya Pradesh: Congress MLA booked
A Congress MLA has been booked for allegedly inciting people to set ablaze a police station, amid violent protests by farmers in Madhya Pradesh.
Hardik Patel arrested
Patidar Andolan leader from Gujarat, Hardik Patel was arrested on Tuesday in Neemuch district of Madhya Pradesh when he was heading to Mandsaur to meet the kin of the farmers killed in police firing last week. Patel was arrested from Nayagaon in Neemuch to prevent the commission of cognisable offences, City Superintendent of Police Abhishek Diwan said.
Jyotiraditya Scindia arrested
Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia was arrested on Tuesday before he reached Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh. Mandsaur is the epicentre of farmers’ agitation after state police imposed section 144 in the region which prohibits more than four people from gathering. Scindia was arrested under section 151. Talking to media, before his arrest, Scindia had said he would go alone in Mandsaur as section 144 doesn’t prohibit a single person’s movement.
RSS-backed farmers’ association blames Centre for farm crisis
Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, a farmers’ body affiliated to the RSS, has blamed the Centre’s “irrational policies” for the the crisis. Farmers were not the Central government’s “priority”, BKS National Secretary Mohini Mohan Mishra said, demanding that they be given higher prices for crops and farm produce. “The Centre is more concerned about consumers and rising prices of food items than farmers. They are not a priority for the government,” Mishra told PTI.