April 4th, 2017
The Madras High Court on Tuesday directed the Tamil Nadu government to waive off loans for all farmers. The matter pertains to loans obtained from primary agricultural cooperative banks till March 31, 2016.
Earlier, in the 28 June 2016 order, the state government had waived off loans to only small and marginal farmers who hold land up to five acres.
The decision comes as a response to farmer protects at Jantar Mantar, Delhi for the last 21 days and was taken by the HC following a petition filed by P. Ayyakannu of the National South Indian River Interlinking Agriculturist Association.
The court also restrained officials from initiating penal proceedings against farmers who had defaulted on repayment of crop loans. Additionally, critical issues like drought, crop failure, interlinking of rivers and non-release of Cauvery water for irrigation in the delta districts of Tamil Nadu, were also mentioned.
As reported by The Times of India, the ruling will impose an additional Rs 1,980 financial burden on the state government, and will benefit 3.01 lakh farmers who fall in the ‘other category.
“We are aware that the financial situation of the state government is grim. The chief secretary in her letter to the advocate general also reiterated the same. The state government has already single-handedly shouldered the burden to the tune of Rs 5,780 crore and it will be an additional burden to bear Rs 1,980.33 crore,” the bench said, adding that the Centre too should step in to share the burden.
The decision comes after the centre gave a drought relief of Rs 1,712 crore to Tamil Nadu from the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF).
The Logical Indian appreciates the decision taken to help the plight of Tamil Nadu farmers, however, we strongly feel that the state government should have stepped up without the court intervening. This wasn’t a constitutional matter, nor does it come under the umbrella of the Indian Penal code, therefore judicial arbitration was unnecessary. Only banks have the authority to waive off loans and the order should have come from the centre or the state government.