New Delhi, Apr 2 (UNI) Stating that Finance Minister P Chidambaram's loan waiver in the Union Budget would cover only 50 per cent farm loans, BJP President Rajnath Singh today urged the UPA government to come out with projects to increase the purchasing powers of agricultural and rural households.
He stressed the need for bringing rural areas on par with the urban areas. If the rural purchasing powers were enhanced, it would lead to prosperity for all sections of people and service providers.
Mr Singh called for implementation of projects like the crop insurance scheme giving an average return of seven years MSP.
The government should think of providing pension schemes for one farmer in each family to help them lead honourable lives, he said.
Inaugurating a Kisan Adalat of Western Uttar Pradesh farmers as part of a fortnight-long Kheti Bachao Andholan, Mr Singh said a farmer who had completed 60 years should be chosen in a family so that the the kisan families would have a regular source of income.
''In the rough and tumble of Indian farming, if a farmer completes 50 years, it is a creditable thing. We demand the government pay pension to one eligible farmer in the family,'' Mr Singh said, pointing out that over 70,000 farmers had committed suicide especially in the Vidarbha region.
He said the farm loan waiver excluded 50 per cent of farmers because many debt-ridden farmers were out of the banking system. ''We are not against the waiver and my party was the first to raise the demand during the tour of Vidarbha areas. The National Executive of the BJP held detailed and meaningful discussions on the issue.'' Mr Singh, a former Agriculture Minister, said the interest on crop loans should not exceed four per cent and the repayment should start after one year, giving reasonable time to farmers to sell their produce at a good price.
The BJP leader said he had suggested that the Centre work out an action plan and convene a special session of Parliament and finalise its shape. Schemes like crop insurance should ensure a seven year average return for every acre of land.
Seventy five per cent of the premium should be paid by the Centre and States while the farmer should pay 25 per cent, he added.
Mr Singh said distribution of wealth was the real essence of equality among various sections. There should be fair distribution of wealth both in urban and rural areas as it was a matter of concern that the agriculture sector's contribution to the GDP growth was reduced to 18 per cent.
He said holding Kisan Adalats throughout the country to establish contact with the farmers representatives would go a long way in understanding the problems on the ground.
''The BJP was committed to reaching out to this section because national development hinges on the welfare of majority of the people involved in agricultural trades,'' he said.
About 100 farmers from Western UP attended today's Adalat.
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