Loan waiver to bonus payments, poll-bound states target farmers -Deep Mukherjee & Milind Ghatwai

-The Indian Express

While Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara seeks to recover from the recent disastrous bypoll where the BJP lost two Lok Sabha seats and an assembly seat to the Congress, MP’s three-time CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan aims to mitigate three-time anti-incumbency.

From crop loan and land revenue waivers to bonus payments and free crop storage, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh announced a slew of sops Monday targeting farmers and rural voters ahead of assembly elections later this year.

While Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara seeks to recover from the recent disastrous bypoll where the BJP lost two Lok Sabha seats and an assembly seat to the Congress, MP’s three-time CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan aims to mitigate three-time anti-incumbency and the set-back from the recently concluded civic polls in the state, where the BJP lost ground.

Raje, presenting the last state budget before elections, Monday announced a one-time crop loan waiver for small and marginal farmers up to Rs 50,000 in the overdue and outstanding categories of short-term loans from cooperative banks. The waiver is expected to cost the state exchequer Rs 8,000 crore.

“Small and marginal farmers are among the most vulnerable groups in our society. We have taken a significant decision to waive off short-term farm loans. More than 20 lakh farmers in the state will benefit from this decision,” said Raje in the Rajasthan Assembly.

She also said the state would constitute a farmers debt relief commission through which farmers will be able to get relief on merit basis after presenting their case to the commission. Raje also announced the exemption of land revenue which she said would benefit at least 40 lakh farmers in Rajasthan.

“Our aim is to touch more and more people from those categories who are deprived and need our support. Most importantly, we made this budget after keeping in mind the fact that this money is the property of the public and we have been entrusted for its safekeeping and we have to make the best use of it so that it is distributed in such a way that the public can get most benefits from it,” said Raje.

In MP, while addressing a Kisan Mahasammelan at Jamboree Maidan in Bhopal, Chouhan announced his government was bringing back a bonus paid to farmers over the minimum support price (MSP) and also said he would waive interest on loans.

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The Indian Express, 13 February, 2018, http://indianexpress.com/article/india/loan-waiver-to-bonus-payments-poll-bound-states-target-farmers-5061534/

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