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Debt-hit Maharashtra farmers accuse BJP over MSP, waiver of loans
Tuesday February 24, 2015 5:21 PM, IANS

Debt-hit farmers of Maharashtra's Vidarbha region have accused the BJP of treating the issue of minimum support prices (MSP) and waiver of farm loans as a 'jumla' (empty election promise) and demanded that the government seek a fresh mandate, an NGO said here Tuesday.

Maharsahtra farmers

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had made pre-poll promises on farm loans waiver and giving higher MSP according to a proposed formula of investment plus 50 percent returns, Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) president Kishore Tiwari said.

"Both these turned out to be 'jumlas' - one has been rejected officially by the RBI and the other by the government as per its affidavit in the Supreme Court," Tiwari told IANS.

He accused the government of 'back-stabbing and betrayal' of the 70 percent Maharashtra population dependent on agriculture who had believed the promises would be made and supported the BJP in the last Lok Sabha and Maharashtra assembly polls.

Without mincing words, Tiwari alleged that the BJP-led government is engaging in 'jumlas' one after the other - first with BJP president Amit Shah's statement of depositing Rs.1.50 million in bank accounts of all Indians after bringing black money stashed abroad, later the reversal on the sensitive toll tax issue in Maharashtra, and now a similar fate for the farmers.

"Now, there is news about a RTI query revelation that there is no evidence to prove that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had ever sold tea at a railway station...," Tiwari added.

He claimed that a note on the farmers issues was sought by the BJP and included in its polls manifesto after consulting the VJAS and other organisations with a commitment that only those points would be included which it could fulfil after coming to power.

The scenario is different now with the centre filing an affidavit in the Supreme Court that the government cannot give the MSP on the basis of the BJP's proposed formula of investment plus 50 percent returns as it goes contrary to all existing formulae of the Commission on Agriculture Costs and Prices.

Similarly, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has said that since all earlier farm loans waiver packages have failed to provide relief and such packages would add to banks' NPAs - dashing all hopes of the debt trapped farmers for any relief in the next Union Budget.

RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan said in December 2014 that "debt waiver schemes of central and state governments have not benefited farmers as they restricted credit flow subsequently hence the NDA government has no plan to give any more debt waiver in future", Tiwari quoted grimly.

With 1,160 farmers suicides in Maharashtra in 2014, and 112 in 2015 (till date), this year may prove to be worse for the agrarian communities in the country, he said.

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