BJP questions govt's intentions behind loan waiver

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New Delhi, Mar 4 (UNI) Questioning the intention behind the announcement of Rs 60,000 crore loan waiver for farmers without making any provision for it in the Budget, the BJP today demanded the government to explain immediately how it would raise the required amount for the debt write-off.

The party, meanwhile, set up a six-member committee headed by former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha to study the problems of the farmers and submit its report at the earliest.

The other members of the committee are former UP chief minister Kalyan Singh, Mr Vikram Verma, Mr K Swain, Mr Vijendra Pal Singh and Mr Satish Gangwar.

In the report, the committee will also highlight how the farmers had been ''deceived'' by the government.

The BJP Parliamentary Party which met under the chairmanship of Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha L K Advani today, while welcoming the loan waiver, regretted that it would benefit only a a small section of farmers. Besides the Government took as many as four years to address to the grievances of the farmers.

Demanding that the loan waiver should also apply to those farmers who had taken loans from money lenders, the party also sought compensation to the farmers who were forced to clear their loans from money lenders by selling off their land and property.

Addressing the meeting, Mr Advani asked the members to raise the issue of price rise prominently while speaking either on the Motion of Thanks on President's Address or in their constituency.

Talking to newspersons, BJP Parliamentary Party spokesman Vijay Kumar Malhotra said the government had failed to arrest the price rise and after the budget, the prices of many commodities had further gone up.

He said the direct tax benefit given to salaried classes was little as prices in the past four years had gone up very steeply.

Besides, prices had gone further up after announcement of the tax relief.

The meeting also asked the government why it was taking so much time to make provisions in the budget for loan waivers.

The party felt that the farmers were already facing problems in getting loans from the banks. After the loan waiver announcement by Mr Chidamabaram, the banks had virtually stopped giving loans.

The BJP demanded that the loans be extended to farmers owning 10 acres for irrigated lands and 16 acres in rainfed areas.

Mr Malhotra said the party felt that the scheme was inadequate to meet the disparities caused by irrigated and unirrigated areas and suggested the Government should not stick to its two hectare norm for extending the loan waiver.

The party MPs expressed their concern over the farmers who had availed loans from private lenders and were left out in the Budget proposal.

The Committee should consider if the party would demand a waiver of all loans irrespective of the holdings, sources said.

UNI KAS/MCN YA KP1652

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