The Rajasthan government Monday announced a one-time loan waiver of up to Rs 50,000 for small and marginal farmers at a cost of Rs 8,000 crore to the state exchequer. Presenting the state budget in the Assembly, Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje said a farmer loan relief commission will be set up to address the issues of farmers.
Opposition Congress members created a ruckus in the House after Raje’s announcement. They said it betrayed the interests of the farmers and demanded a full loan waiver.
Raje, who holds the finance portfolio, also announced a hike in honorarium to Anganwadi workers and free travel for those above the age of 80 years in state transport buses. An underpass from Ramniwas garden to Delhi road was also announced to ease traffic woes. Setting up of biogas plants in cow shelters was also among the other key announcements.
Rajasthan, which goes to polls later this year, became the third BJP-ruled state after Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh to announce a loan waiver scheme in September following wide-spread farmers’ protest.
The Raje government had announced a Rs 20,000 crore package after a two-week long protest by thousands of farmers in Sikar. After the announcement, the farmers ended their sit-in protest.
Rajasthan budget 2018 LIVE UPDATES:
1.30 pm: Leader of Opposition Rameshwar Dudi created a ruckus in the House before Raje was set to commence her budget speech. Dudi demanded the government to withdraw the ‘black law’, a controversial ordinance that bars the media from naming a public servant in an investigation probe until the government gives its sanction.
Speaker Kailash Meghwal intervened saying that the Congress leaders will be given time after the chief minister’s budget speech and said that such conduct cannot be tolerated in the House.
After the uproar of over five minutes in the House, Raje started delivering the Budget Speech.