The Centre should provide a financial package of Rs 40,000 crore to the state government to cope with the loan waiver and meet other agriculture commitments, Maharashtra Farm Commission chairman Kishore Tiwari said on Saturday. “At a time when the RBI and NABARD had left it to the state governments to raise the funds for loan waiver, the Centre should intervene to lend a helping hand to the state governments,” he said, seeking the intervention of the Niti Aayog.
Tiwari highlighted the plight of Vidarbha and Marathwada farmers since 1997 due to recurring droughts. Niti Aayog had convened a meeting of the state farmers commissions that was presided over by Prof Ramesh Chand, member (agriculture) of Niti Aayog, and attended by ministers and representatives from various states. Tiwari said whsile farm loan waiver was temporarily necessary for revival of farming, it does not provide a secure credit system in the long term.
“The waiver implies that banks will have to be compensated by the government for the amount involved. This means large sums of money, which could have otherwise gone to strengthen the agricultural infrastructure, like irrigation, secondary support business in rural economy, local value addition projects and research activities such as seed production, soil health enhancement and plant protection, will not be available. Hence, we are asking for long-term farm credit system,” he said.