Modi Govt To Roll Out Huge Farmer Relief Measures Before 2019 Polls?

Prime Minister <a href="https://english.sakshi.com/topic/Narendra%20Modi">Narendra Modi</a> - Sakshi Post

Anvesh Reddy

With the 2019 general elections hardly a hundred days away, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the Centre is chalking out an all-India farmer scheme. In a prolonged meeting with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, BJP supremo Amit Shah and Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday deliberated on announcing major relief measures for the farmers across the country. The meeting gained prominence in the wake of PM Modi's decision to kick-off BJP's 2019 poll campaign from Kerela on 6 January, 2019.

In the wake of BJP's setback in the recent Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan polls, the massive relief measure proposal is being seen as the party's go-to plan both for addressing the national issue of farm distress and strengthening its pitch for a re-election in 2019 general elections. Following the Congress' strides in the direction of waiving farm loans in the three northern states it gained power, the BJP is planning to implement a nationwide farm loan waiver. The plan would ease the economies of the States while giving a fitting answer to Congress president Rahul Gandhi's statements over not letting PM Modi sleep until a loan waiver is rolled out.

Depositing the difference amount between the Minimum Support Price (MSP) and the market price of the crops into the farmers' bank account is another plan the Centre is contemplating. Called as the 'Bhavankar Scheme', the idea was inspired by a similar scheme implemented by the BJP in MP. Also, providing a direct fixed subsidy to the farmers is another option before the Centre, sources say.

Enhancing and upgrading the Kisan Credit Card scheme, which provides term loans and agricultural needs, is being considered by the Modi government. These farmer-centric schemes comes close on the heels of the Centre's recent decision to fix the Minimum Support Price at 50 per cent over the production cost. All in all, the BJP is aimed at going for the polls with a sound welfare package for the farmers, especially in States it has little or no influence.

During 2014-17, the Telangana government released Rs 16,700 crores to the banks in four stages for clearing farm loans. Recently, Arun Jaitley said of all the States, it was only Telangana which had waived the loans 100%. In the recently held Assembly elections, the ruling TRS party promised to waive loans worth Rs 1 lakh. While the Telangana government would have to bear a burden of Rs 22,000 crores for clearing the loans, the Centre's plan for a pan India loan waiver would mean a relief for the Telangana government too. However, the farmer community in the State is hoping for a comprehensive, one-time Rs 1 lakh loan waiver, irrespective of who does it.

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