Farm loan waiver in Odisha becomes election carrot

Bhubaneswar: With 2019 elections round the corner, political parties here are leaving no stones unturned to woo the voters with Odisha Congress and BJP recently announcing waiver of farm loans if voted to power. This announcement of the Opposition has put the ruling-BJD in a dilemma as any decision in this regard will have a direct impact on the party’s vote count on one hand and the state exchequer on other.

To ward off the contentious issues hunting the government, the State Finance and the Cooperation ministers today said that the government is seriously looking into the different aspects of loan waiver and a decision in this regard will be taken soon.

The State Cooperation Minister, Surya Narayan Patro said:

“During Chidambaram (Finance Minister during the UPA government), the Centre had waived off farm loans for all. The Centre should tell NABARD to waive off all its loans given to the farmers… We are already holding discussions and examining all aspects related to waiver of loans.”

Finance Minister, Sashi Bhusan Behera also said that the government is serious about the issue and is looking into all the areas.

Reacting to Patro’s comment, BJP spokesperson Golaka Mophapatra said that the BJD always drags the Centre to hide and divert the attention of people from its failures.

“By dragging Centre into the issue of loan waiver for farmers here, the BJD has exposed its apathy and incapability,” said Mohapatra.

Labelling both the BJP and the BJD as ‘anti-farmer’, Odisha Congress chief Niranjan Patnaik said neither the saffron party nor the Naveen-government is ready to take the responsibility of farmers.

“We have already announced that if we come to power, we will waive off farm loans.”

If the State government decides to waive off the loan by Rs 50,000 for over 50 lakh farmers then it will have to bear an extra burden of Rs 26,000 crore and if around Rs 20,000 is waived off then the exchequer will have to bear a burden of Rs 10,000-15,000 crore.

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