JAIPUR: After making good on its pre-poll promise to waive farm loans, the Congress government in Rajasthan has announced its next big step with an eye on the general elections this year. State Urban Development Minister Shanti Dhariwal has announced that the government, led by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, will go a step further and waive loans of all families where farmers committed suicide.
Minutes after a meeting of the loan waiving committee at the Secretariat on Saturday, Dhariwal said many farmers had committed suicide in Rajasthan on account of non-payment of reasonable prices for their crop yields by the earlier BJP government. The minister said, “In Hadauti region alone, over 70 farmers had committed suicide. Our government will bring all those distressed families under our waiver scheme.”
The Raje government allegedly never owned up to the deaths, as it would have been an admission of the administration’s failures. She said all loans of these farming households will be waived and though “a formal decision is yet to be taken, it (waiver) is likely to be announced after the next meeting of the committee on January 10.”
An inter-department panel, formed to look into the modalities of farm loan waivers in Rajasthan, has advised CM Gehlot to waive all loans of farmers who have committed suicide.
BJP state president Madan Lal Saini accused the Congress of “lying about farmer suicides during the BJP reign”, saying, “There have been three farmer suicides in just twenty days of Congress rule.”
The implementation of the loan waiver promise is likely to impose a staggering burden of nearly `18,000 crore.