A few months before the Assembly elections, the AIADMK government of Tamil Nadu on Friday announced a waiver of crop loans of 12,110 crore rupees of which 16.43 lakh farmers benefited from cooperative banks.
Making the announcement to the state assembly, Chief Minister K Palaniswami said the program will go into effect immediately and a government decree will be issued while the required financial allocation is made in the interim budget.
Claiming “I am a farmer too,” Palaniswami said it was his first duty to respond to farmers’ grievances and ruling party MPs hailed his announcement by jostling offices as opposition benches were vacant .
The main opposition party DMK, which staged an outing ahead of the governor’s speech on February 2, had previously announced a boycott of the session. Assembly elections are likely in April or early May in Tamil Nadu.
The waiver would pave the way for 16.43 lakh farmers to continue cultivation without any hassle, he said.
Targeting the DMK, Palaniswami said the party pledged two acres of land to landless farmers before the 2006 assembly elections, but they couldn’t keep the promise and people knew it and it was the truth.
Likewise, during the 2019 elections in Lok Sabha, the leader of the opposition and head of the DMK, Deputy Stalin, had ensured the renunciation of agricultural loans from farmers in cooperative societies.
After winning 38 of 39 constituencies, DMK forgot about the promise he made to the people.
“This is the routine they follow in every election,” he said, adding that AIADMK was the only party to keep its promises. His party gave assurances that could be honored and also offered new social protection measures, Palaniswami said.
After winning the polls and retaining power in 2016, the late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa gave up 5,318.73 crore in agricultural loans, in favor of 12.02 lakh small and micro-farmers. In 2017, his government provided the ryots with drought relief of Rs 2,247 crore.
Farmers faced hardships from COVID-19, back-to-back cyclones Nivar and Burevi last year, as well as unusual rains that caused heavy damage to crops ready for harvest, he said. .
In view of their welfare, agricultural input aid of Rs 1,717 crore for farmers of lakh 16.43 was ordered and the amount was credited directly to their bank accounts, he said.
Although this measure could help them, the government wanted to give them additional support to help them continue farming. In addition, farmers and various farmer associations have urged the government to forgo crop loans given the damage to crops, the chief minister said and announced the waiver of crop loans.
The ministers and Vice President Pollachi V Jayaraman praised the chief minister for the initiative.
President P Dhanapal welcomed the decision on behalf of the House and MPs could be seen walking towards Palaniswami to greet him and thank him for waiving the crop loan. Some lawmakers touched his feet and took his blessings.
AIADMK allies in the Lok Sabha polls, PMK and DMDK, welcomed the announcement.
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