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90% farmers in Barmer, Jaisalmer won’t benefit from loan waiver

Raje has announced a one-time loan waiver of up to ₹50,000 for small and marginal farmers.

jaipur Updated: Feb 17, 2018 22:00 IST
Mukesh Mathrani
Mukesh Mathrani
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Jaisalmer,Rajasthan news,Loan waiver
Police deployed as farmer protest during their Mahapadav (sit-in) demanding implementation of Swaminathan Commission Report in Bikaner.(PTI File)

Contrary to the state government’s claim that “lakhs of farmers” will benefit from the loan waiver announced by chief minister Vasundhara Raje in this year’s budget, the ground reality looks different, at least in western Rajasthan.

Raje has announced a one-time loan waiver of up to ₹50,000 for small and marginal farmers in Rajasthan.

However, 90% farmers of Barmer and Jaisalmer districts are not benefitting from the announcement due to geographical conditions of the region.

According to the announcement, loan waiver scheme is for “small and marginal farmers in the overdue and outstanding category of short-term loan provided by cooperative banks”. Farmers holding farm land up to two hectares will be eligible to avail the scheme.

However, in border districts of Barmer and Jaisalmer, an average farmer holds 30 to 60 bigha (5 to 10 hectare) land, though the land fertility is poor. On the basis of collected data, sources in the cooperative banks said that there are around 5 lakh farmers in Barmer. Of them, only 2 lakh farmers have taken short-term cooperative loans. Out the 2 lakh, 1.8 lakh are those farmers who possess 30 to 60 bigha land, which makes them ineligible for the scheme.

Only 15,000 to 20,000 farmers will benefit from the loan waiver scheme, the sources said.

Leaders of the two main political parties in Rajasthan — the Congress and the BJP — have raises their voices over the issue.

BJP legislature from Sheo Manvendra Singh Jasol, while speaking in the assembly, requested the government to review the scheme considering the geographical conditions of Barmer and Jaisalmer districts.

Congress legislature from Barmer Mevaram Jain also had requested for the same from the government. “If norms will not change or special relaxation will not given be to the farmers of Barmer and Jaisalmer, this loan waiver scheme will be meaningless for them,” he said.

Congress’ national secretary Harish Choudhary said that inclusion of only small and marginal farmers who got short-term loan through cooperative banks in the loan waiver scheme raises doubt on the government’s intention.

Calling the government “anti-farmer”, Choudhary said it has nothing to do with their problems. “Farmers in state are demanding total loan waiver, but government ignored them,” he said. “In a face saving exercise government has taken this step (waiving off loan), while betraying lakhs of farmers in a technical way,” he said.

First Published: Feb 17, 2018 21:42 IST