As a substantial relief to the farmers of Uttar Pradesh, the Yogi Adityanath cabinet has decided to waive off loans of up to Rs. 1 lakh, thereby, fulfilling a major commitment made by the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). The Cabinet meeting, which took place on April 4, 2017, was the first for Yogi Adityanath government after it was sworn in on 19th March. Reportedly, this decision will cost the state exchequer Rs. 36,000 crore, and it will benefit 2.25 crore farmers.
The BJP had promised to waive off loans for the small and marginal farmers, in its election manifesto, Lok Kalyan Sankalp Patra (Pledge for People’s Welfare). Prime Minister Narendra Modi had assured, that writing off farm loans would be among the primary tasks of the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh, during the election campaign.
The government data reveals that 2.15 crore of the 2.30 crore farmers in Uttar Pradesh are in the ‘small and marginal category’. Majority of these farmers were unable to repay loans worth Rs. 62,000 crore, due to natural calamities and bad monsoon, which resulted in crop losses.
The last national farm loan waiver was implemented in the year 2008, by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government, which had announced a relief for 50 million farmers, costing the exchequer Rs. 65,000 crore.
In other initiatives to support the farmers, UP Agriculture Minister, Surya Pratap Shahi, said that his department was establishing wheat purchase centres in order to meet the target of purchasing 80 lakh metric tonnes of wheat from farmers. He further added that these centres were being set up in such a way, so that farmers would not have to travel more than 7 km to sell their produce.
Shahi also said that the Samajwadi Party government had capped the target of procuring 40 lakh metric tonnes of wheat from the farmers, however, the Yogi-led government has doubled it. He also stated that the minimum support price for wheat crop has been fixed at Rs. 1,625 per quintal.
Shahi also said that the government was exploring the possibility of using closed and unused cold storages to store wheat, as the capacity of the existing warehouses is limited to 40 lakh metric tonnes. He added, that all these initiatives are being taken to fulfil the promise made by Prime Minister Modi to double the income of farmers by 2022.
The Logical Indian hopes that these initiatives will help farmers continue their production with more encouragement and confidence to support the community at large.