Rahul Gandhi is wrong, the Modi government has sanctioned farmer loan waivers

In a nutshell, Rahul Gandhi is simply playing to the rhetorics for seeking political grandstanding and in reality has no objective validity in his claims, much like his unfounded claims on the Rafale deal.

With Congress winning assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, an upbeat Rahul Gandhi went on to make an outrageous claim about the Modi government. Rahul Gandhi claimed that PM Modi has not waived a single rupee of the farmers.

Rahul Gandhi must be banking on the short public memory which is usually considered as ephemeral. Let us verify if the remarks made by Rahul Gandhi hold water.

Starting with one of the largest states in our country, Uttar Pradesh. BJP, under the leadership of PM Modi, had a landslide victory in the state of Uttar Pradesh in 2017. The BJP won an astounding 312 seats out of 403 seats that went into polls. Yogi Adityanath was inducted as the chief minister of the state. In 2017, Yogi initiated farm loan waiver for the distraught farmers in UP.

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About Rs. 32,000 crore was earmarked for the farm loan waiver by the Yogi government in phase 1. The loan waiver was planned and implemented in a phased manner. Farmers were bracketed as per the amount of loan borrowed by them. About 11.93 lakh farmers benefitted from the waiver scheme as of September 2017. Another 11.27 lakh farmers having loans above Rs 10000 were slated to get the benefits from the scheme.

Moving on to the western state of Maharashtra. The BJP formed its government in the state in 2014. Arguably, the farmers of Maharashtra have been worst hit by the vagaries of weather. Citing chronic agrarian distress Modi and Devendra Fadnavis led BJP government designed a farm loan waiver scheme- ‘Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Shetkari Sanman Yojana’. The scheme was designed and launched in mid-2017 and not as a manifesto promise. This move in itself speaks volume of how receptive and empathetic the BJP government has been to the farmer’s woes in the state.

Under this scheme, the BJP government had pegged Rs 34000 crore for the loan waiver. So far, Rs 16300 crore has been spent in waiving off the loans of the farmers in the state. In Marathwada region, where the agrarian distress has been severe, 2.7 lakh farmers have registered online under the scheme in the Kolhapur district alone. Around 58 lakh farmers across Maharashtra are slated to be covered under this scheme.

In addition, Modi has not just relied on farm loan waivers for rescuing distressed farmers. PM Modi has launched multiple reforms in the agriculture sector to alleviate the stress on farmers. Congress’ blue-eyed man Raghuram Rajan recently declared that we should do away with the farm loan waivers. Though Rahul Gandhi has spurned Rajan’s advice, Modi knows that farm loan waiver alone is not a permanent solution to the chronic agrarian woes.

To this end, Modi has implemented the recommendations given by the Swaminathan Committee on increasing the MSP of various crops to provide farmers with their appropriate due. Modi has also launched ‘Fasal Bima Yojana’- a crop insurance scheme for farmers. In February 2015, Modi launched Soil Health card Scheme to educate farmers on the nutrients requirements, crop-recommendation for their land, fertilisers and judicious use of the inputs available to them to increase their productivity.

So when Rahul Gandhi claims that Modi has not waived off a single rupee of the farmers, he is nothing but lying through his teeth. He is taking the gullible and hard-working farmers of this country on a ride.

While the economics of loan waiver is questionable across the board, Rahul Gandhi is simply playing to the rhetorics for seeking political grandstanding and in reality has no objective validity in his claims, much like his unfounded claims on the Rafale deal.

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