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'Proper steps to relax loan waive conditions'

Appropriate measures are likely to be taken by the Union Government to relax the two-hectare cap to benefit more farmers, says Sonia Gandhi.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, Osmanabad
UPDATED ON MAR 17, 2008 06:24 PM IST

Appropriate measures were likely to be taken by the Union Government to relax the two-hectare cap to benefit more farmers under the ambitious Rs 60,000 crore-loan waiver scheme, Congress President Sonia Gandhi said on Monday.

"I am hopeful that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram will take appropriate steps considering the problems of farmers in different regions of the country," Gandhi said while addressing a farmers' rally here in the Marathwada region.

Gandhi said after the Budget many sections felt that the benefits should be granted to farmers having larger land holdings in regions like Vidarbha and Marathwada, where farmer's suicides have been witnessed in the past years.

"This issue was raised in Parliament by many MPs including Rahul Gandhi to extend the benefits and therefore I hope that the government will take appropriate steps," Gandhi said, in a reference to the recent speech made by her son and AICC General Secretary.

Speaking on the loan waiver, Gandhi said the government had got the feeling that farmers were an unhappy and worried lot due to which the exemption was announced.

The loan waivers are expected to benefit four crore farmers across the country.

In an apparent reference to the recent campaign by Raj Thackeray-led MNS against the north Indian community in the state, the UPA Chairperson said, "Each corner of our motherland belongs to the people of the country and all of us must stay in harmony."

Commenting on BJP's criticism that UPA government was soft on terrorism, Gandhi said, "Terrorism is a very important issue and we do not need anybody's certificate."

Referring to BJP's prime ministerial candidate LK Advani, she said, "Such statements are unfortunately coming from a former Home Minister during whose tenure our Parliament was attacked by terrorists."

In her twelve-minute-long speech, Gandhi also praised the Vilasrao Deshmukh government in Maharashtra saying they were adhering to the policies of the Congress for growth and development.

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