After the win in three state assembly elections earlier this month, the Congress party has decided that promise of farm loan waiver is a sure shot way of winning elections. Before elections, the party had promised to waive loans taken by farmers, and they did so within days of forming governments in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, but with many terms of conditions, and which did not cover all the farmers.
Now the party has promised to waive farm loans in Haryana. Former CM of the state Bhupinder Singh Hooda has said that his party will waive farm loans within six hours of forming the government in the Haryana.
The waiver in MP is filled with terms and conditions, like a cap of ₹2 lakh, only the loans due up to 31 March 2018 waived, only short-term loans covered, which has meant that many farmers can’t avail this waiver. Before elections, there was no hint of such limitations. In fact, many farmers had stopped paying back their loans as the Congress has started promising waiver during the election campaign. But now they have to pay back all the accumulated dues as dues only upto 31st March is waived. The waivers in the other states also have similar conditions.
During election campaigns, Rahul Gandhi had boasted that all loans in Karnataka have been waived by the state government. But the facts paint a totally different picture, as farmers in Karnataka are receiving letters from banks asking them to repay their loans. Some farmers were also asked to appear before a Lok Adalat to settle their dues, after Andhra Bank filed a petition. The Karnataka government had also informed the assembly that only about 800 farmers have benefited from the farm loan waiver scheme, which was launched in July this year.
Even after so-called ‘loan waiver’, farmers continue to commit suicide unable to pay back their loans, as they discovered that their loans are not ‘eligible’ to be waived.
But despite this, the Congress party continue to promise loan waiver for farmers ahead of elections. They have now assured the same in Haryana, but they didn’t reveal what will be the terms and conditions of this waiver, and how many farmers will actually benefit from the scheme.