BJP questions Budget on loan waiver to farmers

March 4th, 2008 - 3:02 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, Mar 4 (ANI): Calling the 2008-09 Budget populist, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders today sought answers from the UPA Government as to how funds would be garnered for the proposed waiver of loans for small and marginal farmers.
They, however, welcomed the measure, but demanded that all farmers be exempted from loan repayment.
“The huge amount of Rs 60, 000 crore that the Congress-led UPA have set aside for the farmers is a good step. But, when we say that it is a good step, we also ask them the source of the funds, to which, they do not have an answer till date,” V K Malhotra, the party’s spokesperson said at the BJP’s Parliamentary Party meeting here.
He further added that the waiver does not even make a mention of loans taken from moneylenders.
“According to me, the amount is too little and too late. All farmers should be exempted from any kind of loan repayment,” Malhotra said.
Finance Minister P Chidambaram has proposed to waive off 600 billion rupees of bank loans to farmers, in fiscal year 2008-09.
He had said that the write-off would be completed by June 30, with 500 billion rupees going toward farmers holding up to two hectares of land.
For bigger farmers, the budget proposed a waiver of 100 billion rupees as one-time settlement, provided the farmers repaid 75 per cent of their loan that was overdue on December 31, 2007.
Chidambaram had said the farmers covered under the scheme would be eligible for fresh loans after the waiver.
According to the budget, loans also rescheduled earlier will also be eligible for relief under the new scheme.
Ever since the presentation of the budget, BJP has been accusing the Congress of announcing populist measures and sidelining interests of the economy in general.
The party has been criticising the party’s silence on the ‘funds generation’ issue regarding the proposed waiver of loans for small and marginal farmers.
The fifth and last budget of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) before the general elections in 2009 was presented on February 29. (ANI)

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