The promise of loan waivers for farmers, which the Congress couldn’t fulfil before it lost power in Madhya Pradesh, took centre stage on Tuesday with the ruling BJP and the opposition party accusing each other of cheating farmers.
Agriculture Minister Kamal Patel alleged that farmers received loan waiver certificates but their loans were not waived. He said the promise to waive loans of up to Rs 2 lakh created confusion in cooperative banks, and that administrators of cooperative societies were asked to give proposals to bear half the cost of such waivers.
“The loans were not waived but farmers became defaulters. Since they have been declared defaulters, farmers are not eligible for fresh loans,”’ the agriculture minister said, holding former chief minister Kamal Nath responsible for the situation. Appealing to farmers to come forward to lodge complaints, Patel said the former CM had cleared a proposal to waive loans of 54 lakh farmers to the tune of Rs 54,000 crore after taking his oath, and that the then chief secretary had issued orders.
“Not one farmer who had Rs 2 lakh outstanding loan benefited from the scheme,” Patel said, recalling that Rahul Gandhi had in his campaign for the 2018 Assembly election given such a promise.
Congress MLA and agriculture minister in the Kamal Nath government Sachin Yadav accused the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government of failing to make up its mind on whether to continue the scheme or scrap it even three months after coming to power.
Yadav said the BJP government should complete the third phase of the waiver.
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