Hyderabad: Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao on Wednesday said the Government was ready to go the extra mile on the loan waiver issue for the benefit of farmers in the State.
Intervening during a short discussion on crop loan waiver and Minimum Support Price for farm produce in the State Legislative Assembly, the Chief Minister said: “We are more concerned and committed to the farmers’ loan waiver scheme than anyone else. That is the reason why the government waived a large amount of Rs 16,124 crore which is unprecedented in the history of the country.”
Assuring the opposition of his preparedness to debate farmers issues to any length, he said: “We are here to answer all your queries and the House, as decided, will be in session for 50 days.”
He also assured members that the government was ready to make a fresh announcement if needed on the floor of the House waiving off penal interests, if any, to be paid by farmers as part of the debt relief given to the farmers benefiting Rs 1 lakh each. He wanted the opposition parties to bring to the notice of the Speaker if any bank was insisting on repayment of such dues.
Stating that no TRS MLA or elected representative had come across such cases, he said if the Congress members have any such information, they can ascertain it within a week and pass the information to the Speaker to facilitate action by the government. He made it clear that the bankers at the last SLBC assured the government that no such penal interest was being collected from the farmers. The bankers had already given loan clearance certifications to the farmers, he said.
The Chief Minister said the practices adopted by neighbouring States in the implementation of loan waiver scheme may not suit the conditions in TS. The State Government has been implementing a slew of measures for the benefit of farmers and the neighboring States cannot match the kind of concessions being extended to the farming community by the TS government. “We will accept and appreciate if any good is being done for the farmers in any State,” he said.
In an obvious reference to Andhra Pradesh, he said the Chief Minister there had assured total debt relief for farmers. But ultimately, after many queries, commitment was given for only Rs 24,000 crore. The government has released only Rs 11,000 crores so far, Chandrashekhar Rao said, and pointed out that the Congress members need not quote examples of neighbouring States.
Free power, introduced by the then Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy during the Congress regime, was being implemented by the State government in a big way. “This is costing the government over Rs 5,000 crore per year. We need to admit with magnanimity all the good done by the previous government. Nobody can deny it. The Congress government, however, failed to overcome power cuts. The State government today is supplying uninterrupted power,” he said.
So far as market intervention measures are concerned, the government has procured paddy worth Rs 8,000 crores from farmers, the Chief Minister said, adding that cotton was cultivated in about 48 lakh acres this year. “Only three percent of the cotton produce has arrived in the markets so far. The price for cotton depends on the quality and grade. A Minimum Support Price of Rs 4,320 per quintal of cotton with less than eight per cent moisture is being offered,” he said, and assured the members that the government would do everything to ensure that the farmers benefit ultimately.