NEW DELHI: Dubbing the loan waivers announced by the Congress governments as "political stunts", Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday asserted that a majority of farmers do not benefit from these "misleading" announcements as only a few of them take loans from banks.
In an interview to ANI, he said the solution to the farmers' problems is to empower them and his government is committed to this.
"These are political stunts," Modi asserted.
He recently described the loan waivers announced by the Congress governments in states like Madhya Pradesh as "lollipops".
Asked why he described the announcements as "lollipops", the Prime Minister said: "To say a lie and mislead, that is what I called lollipop. Like saying that we have waived all farm loans. The truth is that nothing like that has happened... They should not mislead... And particularly a responsible political party should never do it."
Explaining further, he said there is a very small segment of farmers who take loans from banks while a majority of them take loans from money lenders.
"(So) when governments make such announcements (of loan waivers), those farmers (who take loans from money lenders) do not become beneficiaries of the waivers. The farmers who are dying are out of the purview of such schemes," Modi elaborated.
Responding to criticism that his government has been insensitive to the farmers' woes, he said, "If loan waiver helps, it should be definitely done. But it has been done by earlier governments also. Since (former Deputy Prime Minister) Devi Lal's time (in 1989-1991), loan waiver was done."
He said the Congress-led UPA government also announced farm loan waiver in 2009 to "win (the Lok Sabha) elections".
"Still, if state governments are doing it (announcing loan waivers), we are not stopping them. We have not stopped any state government. We are committed to addressing farmers' problems and empowering farmers," Modi added.
At the same time, the Prime Minister wanted it to be pondered over as to why farmers fall in debt trap.
"What is lacking in our system that a farmer becomes debt-ridden and the governments have to repeat this vicious cycle of elections and loan waivers?.. We should have a situation so that a farmer does not need loan," he said.
"The solution is to empower the farmers. From seed to market, give all facilities to the farmers," Modi said.
He said if the Swaminathan Commission report had been implemented in 2007, there would have been no need for loans.
"Instead of doing that, they found avenues to win elections," Modi said, targeting the Congress. (ANI)