The Rs 60,000-crore loan-waiver to farmers in the budget has no significance as they would not have been able to repay in the first place. What about the farmers who have been forced to take loans from moneylenders as the government-owned banks and financial institutions failed to respond to their needs? What the farmers need is a fair price for their products and farm inputs at an affordable level. The truth is that farmers’ suicide will continue while the poll pundits will praise the Finance Minister for his ingenuity.
NS Venkataraman, via e-mail
The farmers’ loan waiver by the Finance Minister is nothing short of a political gimmick at the cost of the country’s exchequer. To overcome the problem of farmers’ suicides, the FM has advocated economic suicide. It has been revealed that farmers are not serious in repaying their debts and they spend the borrowed amount on extravagant things that are beyond their means.
Ganesh K Sovani, Mumbai
The waiver of agricultural loans and increasing allocations have made this budget a populist one. What is needed is a structural change to stem the agrarian crisis. The government should have worked out a programme for the second green revolution. A huge investment in irrigation works and improvement of soil and seed quality is needed to make agriculture sustainable. The budget appears to be shortsighted
in this respect.
CHANDAN PURI, Delhi
With China flexing its muscles, Pakistan trying to outdo us with missiles it has been given by others and the growing menace of terrorism and Naxalism in several parts of the country, the all-time low defence outlay of 1.98 per cent of the GDP is out of sync with reality. The shortage in officers’ cadre in the armed forces and poor pay, promotion and service conditions should have been addressed in the present budget. Modernisation in the armed forces is not going ahead due to red-tape which has pushed the DRDO to the wall
Raghubir Singh, Pune