With the state Legislative Assembly paralysed over the Opposition’s demand for a loan waiver for farmers, the government is likely to spell out its policies on the issue on Thursday. While the government is not in favour of the loan waiver, it wants the House to start functioning before the Budget is presented on March 18. Even some Opposition leaders have admitted that writing off the loans would be impractical and populist.
One of the options the government is working on is to extend credit to more farmers, sources said. It means it will have to make adequate investments in agro-industries to make farmers avail of crop loan and also have the capacity to repay it. Efforts are on to bring in the credit bracket almost 32 lakh farmers who didn’t avail of crop loans for many reasons, including failure to clear previous debt, sources said.
In 2016-17, crop loans disbursed stood at Rs 51, 235 crore, benefiting 52 lakh farmers. The ministry of agriculture and finance claimed it was the highest amount in the last two decades.
The Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana is another policy designed to provide cover to small and marginal farmers.