With the Election Commission delaying announcement of elections to the Gujarat assembly, the Vijay Rupani government Monday reached out to an estimated 25 lakh farmers, announcing “zero-interest” crop loans to farmers. It also announced parole for jail inmates who are 60 years old or above in view of the Diwali festivities.
Making the “zero-interest” crop loan announcement at the Gujarat Gaurav Mahasammelan at Gandhinagar, Chief Minister Rupani said farmers in the state get Rs 3 lakh loan at an interest rate of seven per cent. Of this, the farmer has to pay only one per cent as interest cost, while three per cent is paid by the Centre and the remaining three per cent is absorbed by the state government. “From now on, this one per cent interest rate too will be borne by the state government. Farmers will not have to pay any interest,” he said.
On the move that is expected to cost the state exchequer an extra Rs 700 crore, Rupani said the government has thrown open its treasury vault to benefit the farmers. This announcement comes three weeks after he announced that the state will procure groundnut at Rs 900 per 20 kg against the market price of Rs 600-650.
The grant of sops to farmers in Gujarat started in January when the state government announced financial assistance to farmers growing potatoes and tomatoes in the form of transport assistance for exports. This ranged from Rs 750 per tonne to Rs 1,150 per tonne for farmers using road and rail transport respectively. According to the announcement made by Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, the government will provide 25 per cent of the total transportation cost with a maximum upper limit of Rs 10 lakh per farmer, if the produce is being exported overseas.