Odisha Govt. to consider all aspects of farm loan Waiver in State

Bhubaneswar, Dec 21: Even as different State governments, including a BJP ruled state, have announced waiving of agriculture loan of farmers, the Odisha government Thursday said it is considering all aspects before proceeding further and was  not competing with other States in this regard.

          Finance Minister Sashi Bhusan Behera today said that different political parties are promising waiver of farm loans in order to compete with each other ahead of the elections but the State government is considering all aspects before moving in this regard.

Behera termed such moves as ‘unfavourable for the farming community,’ the State finance minister said that the Centre should bring a national policy to resolve the issue of farmers.

Amidst speculations that poll-bound Odisha may well follow in the footsteps of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattishgarh which have announced waiver of farm loans, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik too had on Wednesday told reporters that the government is examining the peospects of farm loan waiver.

          Notably, the State government will have to shell out over Rs 40,000 crore if it wants to write off the debt as of now.

          Opposition Congress and the BJP have earlier promised that they would go for farm loan waiver if elected to power in the 2019 Assembly elections.

          It may be noted that Patnaik had sided with the farmers right after the results of the state assembly elections of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram were declared on December 11.

          “The central BJP government has done very little for the farmers as regards minimum support price (MSP) and implementation of MS Swaminathan Committee recommendations. The NDA government has ignored the farmers,” Patnaik had said in his initial reactions.

          Odisha’s Agriculture Minister Pradeep Maharathy had also said that the state government was sympatheric towards farmers and considering the proposal of farm loan waiver.

          Congress allege that the BJD has planned a fake protest on MSP hike to mislead the people of Odisha. BJD is in government in Odisha since last 18 years, but they never thought about the welfare of our farmers. The Congress governments in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan took just two days to waive off farm loans. Look at the contrast,” tweeted OPCC chief Niranjan Patnaik.

If they really care about the farmers of Odisha why don’t they announce a bonus on MSP like the Congress party did in Chhattisgarh instead of wasting public money on  Naveen Patnaik’s PR, he tweeted.

However, NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar on Wednesday had said that farm loan waivers are just a palliative and not a long-term solution for the farmers.

“Short-term measures might be required in some states that are facing real farm distress. The Centre does not take a pan-India view on the issue as it would not be fair for farmers in States where the loan exposure is very less,” Kumar had stated.

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