The Narendra Modi government is unlikely to announce farm loan waivers ahead of 2019 General Elections even as the Congress is aggressively pushing for it in the three states where it has won elections. According to The Indian Express report, Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh and MoS Gajendra Shekhawat have held a series of meetings with officials and mulled several alternatives.
Even as the government has not finalised any of these options, it is likely to finalise on a plan before the end of the Winter Session. The national daily reported quoting sources that the government is considering three options: to extend the time period to repay borrowed amount; increase the credit limit under the KCC scheme; giving subsidy per acre.
Experts have warned against announcing loan waiver in a run-up to elections as the scheme does not help farmers, deteriorates credit culture and increase fiscal burden on the government. Loan waivers announced by the Congress under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi have also come under sharp criticism.
Earlier, former Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog Arvind Subramanian had criticised the politics of loan waivers calling it a sad race to the bottom. “If loan waivers would fundamentally alleviate farmers’ plight, waivers would be a welcome step. But if after 70 years of independence, farmers remain in distress, we need to seek different solutions,” he had tweeted.
SBI Chairman Rajnish Kumar also voiced his opinion against loan waivers and said that it was not a permanent solution. He suggested that Telangana model of income/investment support to farmers under ‘Rythu Bandhu’ scheme could be a more viable option.