According to the scheme, the state government will waive 25 per cent loan of farmers up to a maximum of Rs 25,000.
Guwahati: A day after the newly formed Congress governments in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh announced waiving of farm loans, the BJP government in Assam too approved Rs 600-crore waiver alongwith several other welfare schemes which it claims will benefit around eight lakh farmers in the state. The decision to this effect was taken at a state Cabinet meeting in Guwahati on Monday night.
According to the scheme, the state government will waive 25 per cent loan of farmers up to a maximum of Rs 25,000. The waiver will be for all the loans taken through Kisan Credit Card (KCC) and from PSU banks, industry minister and state government spokesperson Chandra Mohan Patowary said here on Tuesday.
The Cabinet also gave its nod to a scheme which will enable around 19 lakh farmers in the state to take loans at zero per cent interest from the next financial year. The cabinet also approved a farmers’ incentive scheme, under which Rs 10,000 subsidy will be given to farmers having bad debts for taking loan under KCC. The government will also give an incentive of Rs 25,000 to “smart farmers” who have repaid their loans.
The schemes will help farmers tide over their financial crisis and improve agriculture production, Mr Patowary said. The State Cabinet also decided to enhance the pension of freedom fighters in the state from Rs 20,000 to Rs 21,000.
The Cabinet approved formation of the Micro and Small Enterprises Facilitation Counci which will be headed by the industry commissioner. The state government has also resolved to take a loan of Rs 32.72 crore from the National Cooperative Development Corpo-ration for reviving the jute mill at Nagaon.
All the schemes announce don Tuesday will amount to an additional burden of Rs600 crore on the state exchequer this fiscal. “For the next fiscal, we will have to do budgetary provision for the schemes,” Mr Patowary said.
The Sarbananda Sonowal-led government’s strategic move to woo farmers in the state comes immediately after the BJP’s electoral reverses in the recently held Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. Debt woes of farmers is a now major issue in the run up to the Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
Opposition Congress and other parties have been targeting the BJP-led Central government over the issue of farm distress. On Tuesday, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said outside Parliament on Tuesday that he will not let Prime Minister Narendra Modi sleep until all farms loans are waived.