Rahul favours extension of cut-off date for loan waiver

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Hulkoti, Karnataka, Mar 27 (UNI) AICC General Secretary Rahul Gandhi today favoured extension of cut-off date for small and marginal farmers to avail loan waiver, announced by the UPA government in the 2008-09 budget.

Speaking at an interaction session at K H Patil Krishi Vignana Kendra with agricultural scientists and farmers, he said loan waiver scheme should also cover ''sincere farmers.'' He also suggested that those farmers who had promptly repaid their farm loan dues be compensated suitably and not let to be disappointed for being prompt in repaying their loans.

In a huge country like India, crop pattern and agricultural seasons differed from region to region and a common cut-off date of March 31, 2008, may lead to some farmers being deprived of the ''benefit,'' he opined.

''I will take up this matter with Prime Minister and Finance Minister and try to set right the anomalies if any. Those farmers who have repaid their loans taken from different financial institutions regularly should not feel that they were let down by UPA government,'' he felt.

During the interaction, the farmers sought a National Agricultural Policy to ensure remunerative prices for their produce on the lines of the practice in the industrial sector.

Rahul was given a presentation on the activities of the Kendra which was involved in promoting integrated agricultural farming practice in this region.

To a question, Rahul said Rs 60,000 crore loan waiver scheme may not happen often and such huge write-offs would not be possible to sustain. However, agriculture would continue to be the focus area of the UPA government, he said.

Later, Rahul visited Annigeri and Hulkoti in the district and launched membership drive for his party.

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