PM Modi, Amit Shah hold 'Marathon' meeting to discuss farm schemes
New Delh, Dec 27: With just months ahead of general elections, the BJP government is considering several measures to support farmers in distress, for which prime minister Narendra Modi held a nearly three-hour meeting at his residence last evening.
According to the reports, PM Modi held discussions on a wide-ranging farm relief plan with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, BJP chief Amit Shah and Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh.
BJP lost power to the Opposition Congress in three big heartland states, where agriculture is still a mainstay. The Congress made good on its campaign promise to waive farm loans almost immediately after taking charge in the three states.
To claw back support among India's 263 million farmers and their many millions of dependents, Modi's administration would soon start working out the details of a plan allocating money to write off farm loans, government sources said.
While the BJP is banking on "prospective failure" of the loan waiver move in Congress-ruled states, the Union government is thinking of various measures to protect farmers.
One step being considered is to pay farmers the difference between the Minimum Support Price for their crop and the market rate. The price differential could be credited directly to the banks of the farmers, reports NDTV.
The idea is inspired by the "bhavantar (price difference) scheme" of the previous Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led BJP government in Madhya Pradesh.
The government is also muling to extend the time period to repay borrowed amount along with interest from 12 months to 36 months under the Kisan Credit Card (KCC) scheme.
The government is also pushing banks for conversion of KCCs to RuPay ATM-cum-Debit Kisan Credit Cards (RKCCs) as this increases the ease with which funds can be accessed.
The Congress chief had announced that he would not let PM Modi "sleep or rest" till the Modi government waived off farmer loans, and cited examples of the newly formed Congress governments in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, where CM Kamal Nath and CM Bhupesh Bhagel announced farm loan waivers on the day of taking oath as chief minister.