Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday ruled out the possibility of the centre waiving off farm loans. Speaking to reporters over the roll out of GST on the midnight of June 30, Arun Jaitley said that the government was committed to adhering to fiscal targets.
When asked about the recent incidents of farmers' protest over various issues including farm loans, Jaitley said there was no plan to waive off the loans. "The Centre is not considering any such plan. Centre will adhere to all fiscal targets including fiscal deficit," he said. While refusing to comment on states waiving off farm loans in crores, Jaitley maintained that his stance on the issue was already conveyed. "I have already made my position clear. States that want to go in for these (waiver) schemes will have to generate them from their own resources. Beyond that, the central government has nothing more to say," he added.
After Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, Punjab announced a loan waiver for farmers but centre refused to do the same. States like Karnataka are waiting for the centre's decision before announcing a loan waiver.
Arun Jaitley's statement comes at a time when states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra witnessed violent farmers' protests over support price and loan waiver. In 2008, the Union government had waived farm loans to the tune of Rs 74,000 crore.