Union Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal on Sunday said the Centre would not extend any financial assistance to resolve issues being faced by farmers. He also said any relief has to come from the state governments concerned. Meghwal was in Chandigarh to interact with traders, bankers and chartered accountants on the issue of Goods and Services Tax (GST). He also addressed the BJP workers on three years of the BJP government at the centre.
Asked about the farmers protests in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra and in some other states, Meghwal said: “I think the Finance Minister has already clarified this point. Kisano ka karza rajya sarkaren sochen maaf karne ka…. Centre koi sahyog nahi degi (The state governments can decide whether to waive off the farmers’ loans. The Centre won’t extend any support). Meghwal said the decision lies in the hand of the state governments.
He, however, said the Centre had plans that would lead to the “doubling”of farmers’ income by 2022. “Hum lagey hue hain, and 2022 tak inki aamdani dugni ho jayegi,” he said, but did not elaborate. Apart from loan waivers in view of the persistent droughts over the past few seasons, the farmers in Madhya Pradesh are asking for an increase in the minimum selling price (MSP) for their crops. As the protests turned violent, five farmers have been killed in police firing. The protesting farmers even torched vehicles and indulged in stone pelting.
On the issue of losses to be caused to states after GST comes into force, Meghwal said: “A change is always resisted in the first place. But things will settle down in a period of six to eight months. The GST will bring an improvement rather. All indirect taxes which one had to pay are absorbed in the GST.”
Meghwal refused to comment on BJP national presodent’s Amit Shah’s remarks on Mahatma Gandhi at Raipur where he called him “Bahut chatur baniya”. Meghwal said “Wo mera vishay nahi hai”.