Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Farmers in dilemma over loan waiver

With Union Finance Minister announcement that the Centre disassociates with loan waivers for farmers, a gloom has again prevailed among them. On the one hand, BJP ruled states like Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh make an announcement of loan waivers for farmers, the Centre refuses to give fund and ask them to manage fund for themselves on the other. BJP in its manifesto in 2014 Lok sabha elections clearly mentioned that if voted to power, it would waive farmers’ loan in order to ease their plight. But with coming to power, it has gone back on its promises. The condition of the farmers all over the country is getting worse and worse. The rate of suicides being committed by the farmers is going higher and higher. It is because of loan burden and poverty among them. The problems of the farmers are getting deeper and deeper and no govt. irrespective of political affiliation has taken any concrete step to solve their problems. Maharashtra after the UP govt. has announced the loan waivers for farmers. They had gone on strike, and it is only after the Fadnavis govt. of Maharashtra announced loan waiver for them, they have called it off. It is well known to states that they cannot waive farmers’ loans on their own resources. It is to be dependent on the Centre. But a number of farmers’ loans is so high and heavy that if either the Centre or the states concerned managed to allocate funds for the purpose, they would have to stop spending on all development projects and social sectors like health, education etc. But it is also the duty of both state and Centre to chalk out an immediate plan of action to deal with the increasing plight of farmers in the country. A farmer commits suicide every hour. They are burdened with loans and they don’t get the due price of their produce. Despite the fact that agriculture is the backbone of our economy and it contributes 17 per cent to the economic growth of the nation, farming sector is most distressed. Three-fourths of our population is still dependent on agriculture. Farmers feed the nation and they themselves commit suicide because of hunger and abject poverty. What an irony? This is an ironical situation that they face in the country. They are still the most neglected sections of society. An impression has also developed in the country that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s priority appears to be corporate, and not farmers. The crores of rupees are given to corporate in loan, and without paying it off they also flee to another country without any hurdle either from govt. or bank. Have anyone in the country has heard that a corporate has committed suicide because of heavy loan burden? Why is it farmers only that they have to commit suicide because of loan burden in the event of failed crops? Due to vagaries of nature, farmers experience flood and drought at regular intervals. Their crops are destroyed every now and then. So, the state and the Central govt. must sit together to find a permanent solution to the problems of farmers. Farmers feed the nation. So, their problems must be taken seriously. Loan waiver may not solve the problems of the farmers permanently, but it would surely give them a lease of lives. There must not also be any politics over farmers’ issues. They have nothing to do with party politics. They labour hard for feeding the nation. They are agitated all over the country. The alleged killing of 6 farmers in police firing in Mansaur of Madhya Pradesh hogged the headlines of national newspapers. To show sympathy with the farmers, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan sat on fast for 24 hours. Now, Congress leaders Jyotiradiya Scindhia would observe fast for 72 hours to show sympathy and solidarity with farmers. This political game is played both by ruling BJP and Opposition Congress in view of the coming state assembly elections.

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