Farm loans up to Rs 50,000 would be written off, putting an additional burden of about Rs 20,000 crore on the state govt. Farmers also demanded minimum support price for crops, lifting the ban on cattle trade and protection for cattle traders
Rajasthan became the third BJP-ruled state, after Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, to waive farm loans. The government made the waiver announcement late on Wednesday night after reaching an agreement with farmers who had been agitating since September 1.
As per the agreement, farm loans up to Rs 50,000 would be written off, putting an additional burden of about Rs 20,000 crore on the Vasundhara Raje government. The loan waiver announced by UP chief minister Yogi Aditya Nath and his Maharashtra counterpart, Devendra Fadnavis, had cost the two state governments Rs 36,000 crore and Rs 34,000 crore, respectively.
“On farmers’ demand to waive loans up to Rs 50,000, a high-level technical committee would be constituted to study procedures adopted by different states, like UP, Maharashtra, Punjab, Kerala,” state agriculture minister Prabhu Lal Saini said. The committee would submit its report in a month.
Kisan Mahasabha, an affiliate of the CPM which led the farmer protests in 14 districts of the state, including Sikar, Jhunjhunu, Churu, Sriganganagar, Hanumangarh and Bikaner, announced on Thursday that it had withdrawn the agitation.
Besides a full loan waiver, the other demands of farmers included minimum support price for crops, lifting the ban on cattle trade and protection for cattle traders, finding a solution to the menace of abandoned animals, free electricity for agriculture and pension for farmers.
Saini said a ministerial committee would meet on Saturday and decide on the demand that the minimum age for sale of calves be reduced from four years to two years. He said the government has also issued notification for a bonus of Rs 200 for four crops — soybean, groundnut, moong and urad — besides agreeing to the demand for increasing the minimum support price.