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Monday meeting cancelled, farm aid likely on talks table tomorrow

A special Cabinet meeting scheduled for Monday, which was supposed to take up the government’s much-awaited farm package and the President’s speech to Parliament, was cancelled by the government, an official said on condition of anonymity.

india Updated: Jan 28, 2019 22:48 IST
Zia Haq
Zia Haq
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
farm aid,Cabinet,Parliament
The farm package, which contains a bunch of proposals, will be one of the last major policy decisions of the Narendra Modi government ahead of the summer’s parliamentary elections. The package is aimed at addressing an agrarian crisis. (Diwakar Prasad/ HT Photo)

A special Cabinet meeting scheduled for Monday, which was supposed to take up the government’s much-awaited farm package and the President’s speech to Parliament, was cancelled by the government, an official said on condition of anonymity.

The farm package, which contains a bunch of proposals, will be one of the last major policy decisions of the Narendra Modi government ahead of the summer’s parliamentary elections. The package is aimed at addressing an agrarian crisis.

A regular Cabinet meet, scheduled for Wednesday, may discuss proposals related to the package, the official added, although no agenda to that effect was available yet. The reasons for the cancellation of Monday meeting weren’t immediately clear.

There are two options before the government. One, it could bring the farm package as a separate proposal again before the Cabinet on Wednesday. The Cabinet agenda on Monday contained a “proposal to address income deficit syndrome of farmers”, according to the official.

The second option is to include the farm-package as part of the Budget itself. The Budget is generally approved by the Cabinet hours before its presentation in Parliament, although details of the finance bill itself are rarely, if at all, shared. This Cabinet meet is usually held in Parliament.

“In any case, Wednesday is the last Cabinet meeting scheduled before Parliament convenes (on January 31). So, there is a possibility that the farm package may figure in the Budget itself,” a second official familiar with the matter said.

The proposals in the farm package include an income transfer scheme, crop insurance at a flat premium of Re 1, direct transfer of minimum support prices to a farmer’s account and zero interest on short-term crop loans for those farmers who have a credit history of making timely repayments.

First Published: Jan 28, 2019 22:48 IST