Written by Abha Garodia
UNION MINISTER of Textiles Smriti Irani on Friday took a dig at the recent farm loan waivers announced by the Congress government in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Terming it as political posturing, Irani said, “Sajjan ne shapath li mukhya mantri ki. Do ghanton mein order nikala, sabhi ka karjha maaf. (The gentleman took the CM’s oath and, within two hours, an order was released that everyone’s loan has been waived). If you want to waive loans, you need to know how much is the debt and from which sources was money borrowed. They did not find out this and within two hours waived all loans…,” she said.
She was addressing students on the second day of IIT-Bombay’s Mood Indigo festival. “We would rather have an insurance scheme, where you pay less premium. If something goes wrong with your crop, then the insurance company can cover your loss. PM Narendra Modi in Rae Bareilly said that ‘earlier premium used to be 15 per cent, now it is 1-5 per cent,” she said.
When pointed out about Modi’s promise to double farmers’ income by 2022, Irani gave an example from the cotton industry.
“When a farmer picks cotton by hand, he contaminates it for use in the industry. The value of cotton falls by 50 per cent. In 71 years, we have not taught our farmers what staple length will give them the best value for money. In the south, farmers are starting to use a vacuum-like machine, which should be made freely available to all farmers,” she said. “We cannot have a myopic view of growth. We need to give farmers diversified prospects of increasing their income,” she added.