The Centre will bear the burden of the promised loan waiver for farmers in Uttar Pradesh, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said Thursday in an intervention during a discussion on demands for grants for the agriculture ministry in Lok Sabha. The minister made no such commitment on farmers in other states even as MPs demanded a similar waiver. This led to a walkout by Congress and Shiv Sena members.
“For UP, we had said that if we form the government in the state, we will waive loans of farmers. The cost would be borne by the central exchequer,” the minister said. During his poll campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said the first decision of the new UP government under the BJP would be to waive loans of small and marginal farmers.
Dushyant Chautala (IND) charged the BJP with double standards. He said the BJP had promised a waiver in UP though the finance ministry had cited reservations expressed by RBI about any such move.
Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge demanded that the government waive farm loans across the country.
Deputy Speaker M Thambi Durai said: “Modi is the Prime Minister. He is not the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.”
Dhananjay Mahadik (NCP) said loans should be waived to bring down the number of farmer suicides. Congress member from Arunachal Ninong Ering said: “Why have you said loans of farmers from UP only will be waived? Why are you not waiving loans of farmers from the Northeast, from Maharashtra, from Jammu and Kashmir? Why are you adopting a selective approach?” Badruddin Ajmal (AIUDF) asked the PM to fulfil his promise of making the Northeast a hub for organic farming.
S P Muddahanume Gowda (Congress) made a suggestion: “There are so many universities across the country which are providing innumerable doctorates. The farmers who provide such rich contribution must also be awarded with honorary doctorates.” Sumedhanand Saraswati (BJP) made a plea for extensive use of organic manure and said studies should be conducted for finding out if cow urine could be helpful.
Uday Pratap Singh (BJP) called for a long-term policy to address farmers’ problems and K Bharathi Mohan (AIADMK) called for an intervention by the Centre for resolving the Cauvery water issue. K Hari Babu (BJP) wanted steps to make agriculture a profitable profession while Jay Prakash Narayan Yadav (RJD) wanted it given the status of an industry.
Other who spoke included Ajay Kumar Mishra, Jugal Kishore Sharma, Ram Prasad Sarmah, Jyoti Dhurve, Dadan Mishra, Santosh Ahlawat (BJP), Shreemathi Teacher (CPM), C N Jayadevan (CPI), N K Premachandran (RSP), Raju Shetty (SWP), Joice George (Independent) and S A Barne (Shiv Sena).