Prime Minister Narendra Modi while addressing a rally in Himachal Pradesh yesterday hinted towards a comprehensive farm relief plan envisaged by the centre. PM Modi also took the opportunity to claim that the loan waivers alone cannot completely alleviate the distress among the farmers.
Congress is a master at misleading farmers.
Their fake promises and tokenism will not cut ice with the hardworking farmers of India. pic.twitter.com/VgNupyi3ZE
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 27, 2018
Mounting a fierce attack on Congress, PM Modi said that the election hack of farm loan waivers was used by Congress to mislead the farmers. Articulating his views on the big election bait, for the first time after the BJP’s defeat in the three recent state elections, PM Modi claimed that Congress had made similar promises of farm loan waivers in 2008 but against total farm loans of 6 lac crores, only 60,000 crores were waived off. He also alleged that 35 lacs of the total beneficiaries then had no farmlands or had no farm-related loans, a bog scam even highlighted by the CAG that did not get media coverage because there were already bigger scams being unearthed in other sectors during the UPA rule.
According to a source quoted by the New Indian Express, Modi held a high-level meeting to create a broad plan that would comprehensively address concerns of farmers. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, BJP chief Amit Shah and Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh were present at the meeting. Precedents of successful farm relief models implemented in the past in states like Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand were discussed. The source claimed that a relief plan can be announced as early as the first week of January 2019.
Another source quoted by the TOI claimed that the government is deliberating on implementing direct benefit transfer(DBT). The government is weighing on executing the direct benefit transfer scheme modelled on the Telangana system. The source also claimed that the cost of the implementation of such a scheme might run into tunes of Rs 1.25 lakh crore which might be shared between the centre and the states.
Another option the government might employ is ‘price deficiency payment’ wherein the government pays the farmer if the price of the crop falls below the MSP. The centre is contemplating over replicating ‘Bhavantar scheme’ to pay the difference between the MSP and the market rate. The NITI Ayog has also reportedly suggested such a scheme.
Each farmer will need to register the crop name and acreage sewn in the nearest APMC Mandi and if the prices fall below the MSP linked price, the difference will be provided to the farmer via direct benefit transfer in Aadhar linked bank account.