NEW DELHI: A day after the Congress president Rahul Gandhi singled out farm loan waiver as the poll agenda in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, NITI Aayog strongly argued that such measures don’t help mitigate the woes of farmers, saying that such dole out is pocketed by a small number of cultivators.
Arguing that not more than 25 per cent of farmers avail of institutional credit, NITI Aayog member Ramesh Chand said that only 10-15 per cent of the cultivators benefit from the farm loan waiver.
“We have seen that three-fourths of crop loans availed by farmers are spent on consumption purposes. Besides, the tenant farmers, who account for 40 per cent in Andhra Pradesh, are out of the purview of the farm loan waiver,” Chand said, adding that even Swaminathan Commission had included agricultural labourers as farmers who don’t get any benefit out of the farm loan waivers.
Arguing that if the farm loan waiver is, indeed, the way forward, for the next government at the Centre, Chand said that it should be done in a much diluted manner by linking it with loans actually spent on crops and cultivations.
NITI Aayog vice chairman Rajiv Kumar also argued that farm loan waiver is not a solution to the agrarian crisis, but only a palliative.
He was speaking to reporters after unveiling the strategic vision document for “New India by 2022”.