UNPA terms loan waiver to farmers an ‘eyewash’

March 19th, 2008 - 11:39 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 19 (IANS) The United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA), led by former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, Wednesday termed the union government’s budgetary proposal to write off farmers’ loan worth Rs.600 billion “an eyewash and political gimmick”. Questioning the government’s 2008-09 budgetary proposal for loan waiver to the farmers, the UNPA convener and former Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu told reporters that the government is bragging about waiving loans to farmers without making available requisite funds.

“By promising the massive loan waiver to farmers in the run-up to the general elections, the government is basically trying to reap the benefit of what would eventually be done by the new government after the elections,” said Naidu.

Explaining the economics of the Rs.600 billion loan waiver to the farmers, the Telugu Desam Party president said the government has merely allocated a corpus of Rs.100 billion to enable banks write off farmers’ loans.

“That means, the present government is trying to take credit for what the new government will be doing eventually,” said Naidu.

Flanked by Mulayam Singh Yadav and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah, Naidu also questioned the cut-off date and the criteria set for the farmers to avail the credit waiver.

Naidu said both the cut-off date of March 2007 and the ceiling of up to five hectares’ holdings set for the farmers to avail the immunity from credit were wrong.

Naidu demanded that all farmers irrespective of when they took the loan should be granted immunity from the credit.

Speaking on the occasion, Samajwadi Party (SP) general secretary Amar Singh rubbished media reports on fissures in the fledgling UNPA on account of SP leaders’ meeting with senior Congress leaders and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad.

Singh, who took a wrong step on a staircase in parliament and broke a leg Tuesday evening, quipped: “I might have broken my leg, but the UNPA will continue to take long strides. It is not going to limp.”

Asked in jest by reporters if he broke the leg while eyeing something else rather than watching his steps, Singh remarked: “If you allude to our recent meetings with the Congress leaders and Lalu Prasad and media reports that claimed fissure in UNPA, we must clarify that we are as strong and united as ever.”

Singh said the meeting with Congress leaders was merely to make some local electoral adjustments in Madhya Pradesh over the election of a candidature to the Rajya Sabha from the state.

Similarly, the meeting with Yadav was to get approval for some railway lines in Mainpuri area in Uttar Pradesh.

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