Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar tells Harpreet Bajwa that the protesting farmers will eventually understand that the stalemate over the agri laws has to be resolved with mutual understanding.
What is the revenue situation of Haryana? Has revenue collection declined during the pandemic?
Our revenue receipts are down by Rs 7,000- 8,000 crore and part of the grant-in-aid from Centre has also not come. Overall, the revenue collection this fiscal is down by Rs 14,000-Rs 15,000 crore, which is 10 per cent less than our estimates.
How will you control the debts?
The capital expenditure is in our hand…Also, our deficit is not as much as other states; it’s less than 3 per cent of the GSDP. Our debts will touch Rs 2 lakh crore, but our GSDP this time is about Rs 8.6 lakh crore.
Is the BJP trying to convince the farmers about the three agri laws as there’s a lot of resentment among them in Haryana and Punjab?
We have been trying to convince the farmers but they are adamant that the laws must be repealed. They have been asked many times to discuss the problems clause-by-clause so that we can amend the laws accordingly.
How do you see the stalemate ending?
Ultimately, people among the farmers only will come out and tell them there is a limit and everything has to be sorted out with mutual understanding. There are intelligent people among the farmers.
Will the farmer agitation have any impact on BJP’s prospects in the states that are going to polls?
Besides Haryana, Punjab and western Uttar Pradesh, there is no impact of the agitation anywhere else, except some small pockets in a few states.
What is your take on khaps and villagers putting up banners banning the entry of BJP and JJP leaders?
Banners have been put in a few villages, but we have not made it a prestige issue. They are our own people; we do not want any confrontation with them. It will be resolved soon.
Did you get your first dose of Covid-19 vaccine?
I wanted to get the shot today (Monday) but was told by my doctor that a person who has had Covid and has antibodies above 100 after that doesn’t need to get the vaccine.