Loan waiver just an eye wash, says UNPA

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New Delhi, Mar 01 (UNI) Calling the Rs 60,000 loan waiver for farmers in the Budget as ''just a book adjustment'', the United National Progressive Alliance(NPA) today indicated it would continue its protest in Parliament to press for long-term solution of their problems.

The Alliance also said that though the Left parties were its allies as far as the farmers' issue were concerned, it might go not with them in supporting the budget.

''One time waiver of loan was going to do no good to farmers who needed a long-term solution of their problems and the UPA government could have done that by implementing the Swaminathan Report on agriculture,'' said Samajwadi Party general secretray and UNPA leader Amar Singh addressing a press conference here this evening.

''Though we cannot say that the waiver of loan was not welcome, it was very clear that the budget has not provided any social and economic security to farmers who needed to be saved from private money lenders, ''said Mr Singh.

Attacking Finance Minister P Chidambaram for categorising the beneficaries as small and marginal farmers and making the waiver applicable to loans taken only till 2007, the Alliance demanded all farmers should be given this benefit and no time-limit be set for it.

He said Mr Chidambaram had not explained where he would get Rs 60,000 from. ''In fact he had made no budgetary provisions for it.

The loan waiver is just a book adjustment for non-performing asset Mr Singh, who said he was addressing the press conference as UNPA spokesperosn, sought to stress that it was the Alliance that had been carrying a countrywide agitation for the rights of farmers for a long time, and the UPA government's sudden concern for farmers was surprising.

He said that unless farmers were given around fifty percent of the cost of their input, the agricultural crisis would not be solved.

''If you give adequate prices to farmers for their produce the banks too will increase lending to them,'' said Mr Singh.

When asked whether the UNPA would vote for the budget in Parliament, as was its ally on the issue Left was going to do, Mr Singh said that the UNPA was not bound by the Left.

''Any decision regarding the strategy in Parliament would be taken after consultation with other leaders of the Alliance,'' he added.

He also said that the UNPA may continue stalling proceedings of Parliament till the Swaminathan Report was implemented.


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