In an exclusive interview to ANI today, PM Modi spoke about farmer issues and his government’s stand on loan waivers.
ANI editor asked the PM that Rahul Gandhi and his party has often alleged that the NDA government has allowed economic offenders to flee the country while farmers in the country are suffering, PM stated that Congress often resorts to slandering while ignoring its own failure to provide relief to farmers.
PM Modi asserted that as he has stated before, Congress’ promise of farm loan waivers is just a lollipop to cheat people. He explained that time and again, Congress has used loan waivers as an election time trick while actually doing nothing for farmers.
#PMtoANI on loan waivers by Congress state Govts: To say a lie and mislead, that is what I called lollipop. Like saying ‘we have waived all farm loans’. The truth is that nothing like that has happened. Please see their own circulars, they should not mislead. pic.twitter.com/BOISilifuf
— ANI (@ANI) January 1, 2019
Over the allegations by the opposition that billionaire economic offenders like Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi had fled while farmers in the country are suffering, the PM stated that waiving off farmers’ loan is never the solution, had it been the solution, why are there still farmers in distress while multiple governments have promised loan waivers over the years.
PM Modi asserted that the solution to tackle agrarian distress is to empower the farmers. Highlighting his slogan of ‘Beej se le kar bazar tak’ PM stated that his government is attempting to offer farmers long-term solutions via Irrigation projects, value addition, minimalising wastage, logistical solutions to stop distribution issues and providing facilities like storage, marketing and technological assistance. He also added that his government has spent thousands of crores in irrigation projects that will directly benefit countless farmers, but irrigation projects are not an election gimmick, so media never focuses on it.
PM stated that his government is trying to create an environment in the country that farmers do not even need to take loans. He also highlighted the fact that the Swaminathan report had come in 2007, yet, the UPA government never implemented it. He added that had the UPA government had implemented the recommendations of the report instead of the false promise of waiving off the farm loans to win the 2009 elections, the agrarian scenario in the country now would have been drastically different.
He then stated that by raising the MSP of 22 chief crops, his government has ensured that farmers earn more. PM Modi also asserted that instead of falling for the bait of Congress over the loan waiver gimmick, media in the country should behave more responsibly and attempt to find out how many farmers have actually benefitted from the loan waiver schemes that have been announced before every election.
PM Modi also added that state governments are free to implement farm loan waivers and his government has never objected to it. He insisted that farmers of the country will actually benefit when governments start offering holistic, practical solutions and not election time ‘lollipops’.
PM Modi had expressed his criticism over the election time gimmick of farm loan waivers at a rally in Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh recently. The PM had stated that loan waivers are not a solution to agrarian issues and they do not solve the problems the farmers are facing,
Hinting at a comprehensive plan by the central government, the PM had stated that the Congress had cheated the farmers in several states by promising the ‘lollipop’ of big promises and then have failed the farmers in every state.
In Karnataka, despite announcements by the government that they have allocated funds of Rs 44,000 crores, only 800 farmers have reportedly benefitted from the loan waiver scheme. In recent weeks, many farmers have received recovery notices from banks, facing arrest and many have also committed suicide.
in Madhya Pradesh too, the Congress had created hype over signing loan waivers within a day of Kamal Nath assuming office but the waiver scheme came with a number of terms and conditions which made very few farmers eligible for the waiver scheme.
PM Modi has always maintained that his government is committed to double the farmers’ income by 2022. The NDA government has taken a number of steps including raising the MSP, digitalising benefit transfer schemes, minimising wastage and direct marketing to consumers through eNAM to achieve this goal. The year 2017-18 saw India’s highest production of foodgrains so far.