Farm debt waiver not distress bill left by NDA: Swain

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New Delhi, Mar 14 (UNI) Mr Kharabela Swain (BJP) today rejected in the Lok Sabha Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's contention that the NDA did nothing for the farmers during its six-year rule till 2004, stating that the UPA government had admitted in its Economic Surveys and other documents that the kisan credit card launched by the A B Vajpayee government had become ''very popular.'' Finance Minister P Chidambaram had also acknowledged that institutional credit to farmers had gone up to Rs 80,000 crore in 2003-04, up from Rs 31,956 crore in 1997-98, Mr Swain said resuming the debate on the Budget 2008-09.

Taking strong exception to Dr Singh's remark that the Rs 60,000 crore farm debt waiver announced in the Budget was nothing but the distress bill passed on by the NDA, the BJP member said data released by Reserve Bank of India and the National Statistical Organisation (NSO) had placed the farm loan outstanding only at Rs 32,000 crore.

The government had ''exagerrated'' the farm loans that were overdue to arrive at the Rs 60,000 crore figure, he said.

Further, it was the NDA-ruled states which were implementing properly the rural employment guarantee scheme, flagship programme of the UPA, while the Congress-ruled states were floundering.

Similar was the case with the 15-point programme for the minorities, he contended.

Mr Chidambaram had also admitted in his Budget speech that he was lucky to inherit a good economy from the NDA regime, which had contained the inflation at 4.2 per cent, from the 10.6 per cent witnessed during 1991-96 when Dr Singh was Finance Minister in the P V Narasimha Rao government, Mr Swain said.

Mr R L Jalappa (Cong) asked the Finance Minister to write off all ''outstanding'' farm loans, instead of the loans that had become ''overdue,'' to benefit all the farmers who had borrowed from institutions.

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