Union minister Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday called taking loans and later demanding their waivers a fashion. “It has become a fashion now to take a loan and then ask for a loan waiver. Whose loan and whose money is it?’’ he asked at an event in Mumbai.
He said that it is the people’s money and if the loans are waived, then the government will have to pay for them from elsewhere. Naidu maintained that they have to write-off loans in extreme situations and added that it is not a final solution. “You have to take care of the system and have to create rural infrastructure. Facilities like cold storage, refrigerated vans and adequate affordable, cheaper credit for the farming community have to be provided. I am happy that the Maharashtra government is moving in that direction.”
Opposition parties criticised Naidu for his remarks. CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury asked if the government would now term farmer suicides “fashionable”. “We need to do more than loan waivers for our farmers, not mock them,” Yechury tweeted. Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal said the comments exposed his bias towards the rich. “You do not see a fashion in it when you waive loans of the rich. But when it comes to waiving farmers’ loans, you see it as a fashion… You waive a particular individual’s loan, but not that of crores of farmers. This shows the kind of politics you engage in,” the PTI quoted him telling reporters.
Separately, Naidu said on Thursday that the state government will provide additional 20 per cent funding to the bodies that are able to bring about reforms to improve urban infrastructure.