Yogi Adityanath fulfills promise to farmers, waives loans worth Rs 30,729 crore
Keeping its election promise, the Yogi Adityanath government in its first Cabinet meeting decided to waive crop loans up to Rs 1 lakh, totaling Rs 30,729 crore, of small and marginal farmers.
The government proposed to issue Kisan Rahat Bonds to raise funds for the purpose.
Closure of illegal abattoirs was the Bharatiya Janata Party’s other poll promise which the Cabinet approved on Tuesday. The state Cabinet also stamped its approval on the Anti-Romeo Squads.
Most of the nine decisions taken by the Cabinet were aimed at helping the farmers, like fixing of minimum support price at Rs 1625 per quintal. The number of decisions coincided with Navmi, the ninth day of Navratri.
There was confusion about the number of farmers to be benefited by the waiver. Briefing the media, Siddharth Nath Singh said there were 2.15 crore small and marginal farmers in the state. A press note issued later put the number at 86.6 lakh.
The Cabinet also decided to write off Rs 5,630 crore worth of loans declared NPA by the lenders. This decision would benefit seven lakh farmers, Singh said.
Once implemented, the state exchequer would incur a cumulative financial burden of Rs 36,359 crore.
Singh said that given the constraints of fiscal discipline, neither the Centre nor the state government was in a position to provide ready funds for the loan waiver.
In fact, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and the State Bank of India Chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya had ruled out bearing the financial burden accruing as a consequence of loan waiver.
The Kisan Rahat (relief) Bonds would be issued during the coming budget session of the state and the details would be worked out by then, Singh said.
Besides the party’s election manifesto, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had categorically said during some of his election rallies that waiver of farmers’ loans will be the first decision of the Cabinet meeting of UP government.
Defending the decision to shut down illegal slaughter houses in the state, Singh said that only 26 illegal slaughter houses had been closed in the state. “We will follow the Supreme Court and National Green Tribunal’s orders on the issue in letter and spirit,“ Singh asserted.
The NGT had expressed its concern over management of waste by slaughter houses, an issue which was yet to be addressed by many of the abattoirs. About those whose licences had lapsed but had applied for renewal, Singh said that they would be renewed.
Besides Siddharth Nath Singh, power minister Shrikant Sharma also briefed the media. Sharma said that under the Samajwadi Party government women felt very insecure with “roadside Romeos” making life miserable for school and college-going girls and other women.
“The anti-Romeo squads have been widely appreciated and the government has decided to continue with them to provide a safe and secure environment to women,” Sharma said while lauding the work being done by the squad.
Senior cops have been directed to properly brief the squad members so that they do not harass couples in parks and at other public places. He said that any harassment of genuine couples by policemen would be dealt with sternly.
The Cabinet expressed its happiness that state has had a “bumper wheat crop” and to help the wheat growers, the government decided to set up 5000 purchase centres while fixing the MSP at Rs 1625 per quintal. Besides, Rs 10 per quintal will be paid for loading and unloading of produce, Sharma said.
The government’s wheat purchase target for the season is 80 lakh tonnes, with 40 lakh tonnes being purchased in the first phase.
Aadhar cards and direct money transfers would be mandatorily used while making purchases, Sharma said.
A three-member committee headed by Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya has been formed to resolve the problems faced by potato growers in the state. Potato growers, Sharma said, faced acute problems of inadequate return on crops.
The Cabinet also decided to formulate a new industrial policy to attract investments in the state. A five-member committee headed by Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma would study the industrial policies of other states before tailoring the new policy for the state.
Another committee headed by Maurya would look into the illegal mining in the state. The panel has a week’s time to file its report.