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With eye on polls, Vasundhara Raje doles out sops for farmers

There were no surprises when Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje announced the state budget on Monday. She focused on farmers’ interest while announcing the final budget before the state assembly elections

jaipur Updated: Feb 12, 2018 22:09 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Rajasthan news,Rajasthan budget,Vasundhara Raje
Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje interacts with mediapersons after presenting the state budget 2018-19 in the assembly in Jaipur on Monday.(HT Photo. )

There were no surprises when Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje announced the state budget on Monday. She focused on farmers’ interest while announcing the final budget before the state assembly elections.

No new taxes have been imposed in the current budget.

The CM announced a one-time crop loan waiver of up to ₹ 50,000 for small and marginal farmers, and land revenue exemption. The loan waiver is for the marginal farmers in the overdue and outstanding category of short loan provided by cooperative banks. This will cost ₹ 8,000 crore to the state exchequer.

She also announced setting up of a farmers’ loan relief commission where farmers can approach and present their side for getting relief on merit basis.

Raje also announced land revenue (lagan) exemption that would benefit almost 40-50 lakh farmers.

In rural areas, valuation of agriculture land up to 1,000 sq metre will be done at the rate of agriculture land instead of the rate of residential land to help farmers sell or buy the land for agriculture purposes.

The chief minister also announced to allot 2 lakh agriculture electricity connections which were pending till January 2012.

When the chief minister announced one-time crop loan waiver, opposition members created uproar demanding complete loan waiver.

The leader of opposition, Rameshwar Dudi, Congress whip, independent MLA Hanuman Beniwal and other Congress members briefly disrupted the house, alleging the waiver was a betrayal with the farmers.

Farmers will not be benefitted – CPM MLA Amra Ram

All India Kisan Sabha national president Amra Ram said that the ₹50,000 loan waiver for small and marginal farmers in the overdue and outstanding category of short-term crop loan provided by cooperative banks is just a hollow announcement.

He said short-term crop loan is given interest-free for six months and farmers generally repay it on time. “If the government had waived off loan of all farmers and of all banks then it would have been beneficial. This will not provide any respite to farmers,” said Amra Ram.

Kisan Mahapanchayat national president Rampal Jat, too, wasn’t happy. “Announcements have been made during the last year of the government, so it is to be seen whether it will be implemented. In last two years, the government has not purchased groundnut, moong, urad, soybean, bajra and makka on MSP and farmers have suffered ₹ 8,437 crore losses,” he added.

However, general secretary of Rajasthan Kisan Union Badri Prasad Dhaka seemed happy with the announcements. “The ₹ 50,000 loan waiver and constituting of Rajasthan State Farmer Debt Relief Commission is praiseworthy,” he said.

“Though the farmers were demanding a complete loan waiver, this announcement will benefit many. The state and central governments have made some good announcements in the budget for farmers, but it should be implemented on the ground, only then will these announcements make sense,” Dhaka added.

With inputs from agencies

First Published: Feb 12, 2018 22:09 IST