Two days after being sworn in, the Congress government in Rajasthan on Wednesday waived short-term crop loans from cooperative banks and loans of up to Rs 2 lakh taken by farmers from other banks.
“This will put a burden of Rs 18,000 crore on the exchequer,” Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot told reporters.
The move is line with the action taken by the governments in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, the two other states where the Congress won the recent assembly elections.
“The decision was taken after a proper detailed discussion with officials from the concerned departments. A roadmap has been prepared so that the officers face no problem in following the decision,” Gehlot said.
“Congress president Rahul Gandhi had promised during election campaign to waive farmers’ loan in 10 days after the Congress comes to power and we have fulfilled the promise by issuing the order,” he said.
The promise was also repeated in the Congress manifesto for Rajasthan, where the party won 99 out of the 199 seats for which polling took place on December 7.
Gehlot attended office the first time on Wednesday but has held meetings with officials at his home after being sworn in on Monday.
The waiver will apply to loans taken up to November 30, Gehlot said.
“Farmers’ short-term crop loans from cooperative banks will be waived. Along with this, farmers’ loans of up to Rs 2 lakh from nationalised and other banks will also be waived,” he said.
Targeting the previous government, Gehlot said it had waived short-term crop loan of only up to Rs 50,000 taken from cooperative banks.
Now the Rs 50,000-limit has been removed, Gehlot said referring to the scheme the Bharatiya Janata Party government had announced earlier this year.
He said the Vasundhara Raje government’s scheme would have cost Rs 8,000 crore, but only Rs 2,000 were actually spent in writing off the loans.
The remaining burden has been passed on to the new Congress government, he claimed.
Gehlot said farmers unable to pay back their loans were committing suicide in the state.
The chief minister took charge of his office in the morning after offering flowers at an idol of Mahatma Gandhi and praying at a Ganesh temple on the secretariat premises.
After meetings with officials, he visited Governor Kalyan Singh and then returned to his office for another round of meetings.
Chief Secretary D B Gupta, Principal Secretary to CM Kuldeep Ranka and officials from finance, cooperative and other departments attended the meetings.
On Tuesday, Rahul Gandhi had said the opposition will not rest till the Narendra Modi government waives farm loans across the country.