NCP Supremo and former union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar on Sunday said the state government was taking steps in the right direction on loan waiver, adding the government must extend all possible help to farmers. “We stand by the government in its decision of waiving off the farmer loans. At least some action has been initiated and it is a welcome move,” Pawar said during a press meet here on Sunday.
Earlier, the state government had cited “undeserving” beneficiaries of exploiting government’s loan waiver decision, which it said was the reason behind putting a cap of Rs 1 lakh. To this, Pawar said, “Such beneficiaries amount to less than 5 per cent farmers, but the government must do more to address the issues related to cultivators.” Pawar cautioned against “blindly emulating the Uttar Pradesh government”. He said it was important to realise that the “two states have varying budget and agriculture”.
Reacting to the Centre’s Presidential candidate, Pawar said, “I was pleasantly surprised by the ruling party’s candidate Ram Nath Kovind and their motive behind such a candidate is now clear. Earlier also, we have had Presidents like K R Narayanan, but then it was never a process based on caste.” He added that all Opposition parities, including NCP, had reached a consensus of announcing Meira Kumar, former Lok Sabha speaker, as their Presidential candidate. “Given her vast experience both nationally and internationally, it would be tough to field such a strong candidate,” he said. ‘Decision on old notes in co-operative banks must not be delayed’
With the co-operative banks still struggling with the demonetised currency and the union government not relaxing its stand, Pawar said that further delay would not do any good for these banks. “The matter is long pending and the government must clarify its stand and accept the old currency as the interest rates are simply shooting with each passing day,” said Pawar. In Pune alone, there is about Rs 636 crore in demonetised currency of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 held with various co-operative banks.
‘Centre must use newer ways to engage Kashmiri youth’
Pawar has expressed concern over the security and safety threats emerging from the Kashmir valley in the recent months. “The situation is far too serious in nature and the Centre must not delay in addressing the issue. It must find effective ways to stop cross-border infiltrations. It will help maintain internal security,” Pawar said, adding all political parties would support the government in finding solution to the problems in Kashmir in a non-political way. Commenting on the rising instances of stone pelting adding to the security threat in Kashmir, he said,”Those stone pelters are not Pakistanis but our own people. They must be counselled and guided, for which, the government will have to think of innovate ideas. It is important to understand problems of Kashmiri youth and create employment opportunities for them.”