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Madhya Pradesh: Hours after taking oath, CM Kamal Nath announces farm loan waiver

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Bhopal, Dec 17: Delivering on its poll promises, the new Congress government in Madhya Pradesh on Monday issued an order waiving off short-term loans of farmers. Kamal Nath signed the files for farmers' loan waiver immediately after taking charge.

Kamal Nath

The loans of farmers up to Rs 2 lakh will be waived off, the order stated, adding that loans extended by all the nationalised and cooperative banks would be covered in the announcement, the order stated.

Farmers who had taken loans from nationalised and cooperative banks before March 31, 2018 will be eligible for the loan waiver, according to Principal Secretary (Agriculture) Rajesh Rajora.

Loan waiver has been one of the most important commitments of the Congress in the recently held elections.

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Congress President Rahul Gandhi had announced that if voted to power the Congress will waive off farm loans up to Rs two lakhs within the first ten days.

In its election manifesto, the Congress had also promised a social security pension for farmers, who had held massive protests in the state last year, and a rebate in the registration fee of land documents, besides financial help of Rs. 51,000 for the marriage of daughters of small cultivators.

The farm loan waiver is estimated to cost the state Rs. 56,000 crore. Madhya Pradesh faces a debt of at least Rs. 1.6 lakh crore, according to official records. But the actual figures could be well over Rs. 1.87 lakh crore.

Earlier today, Kamal Nath was sworn in as the 18th chief minister of Madhya Pradesh at a ceremony attended by a galaxy of leaders.

Governor Anandiben Patel administered the oath of office to 72-year-old Kamal Nath, who led the Congress to victory in the recently-concluded state assembly polls. No other minister took oath along with him.

Kamal Nath and Congress won 114 seats in the recently concluded state polls, falling two short of the halfway mark. Yet, they were able to stake claim to form the government after support from BSP, SP and Independents, who had combined won seven seats.

In the aftermath of the election result, the BJP, which had won 109 seats, challenged the Congress party to back their poll campaign promises by delivering on the farm loan waiver.

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