Odisha CM urges Modi to frame national policy on loan waiver for farmers

Odisha CM review the Post-Titli relief and restoration work

Bhubaneswar, June 18 (IANS) Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has proposed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that a national policy on loan waivers be formulated in order to relieve the farmers from the agrarian distress.

“In order to relieve the farmers from the agrarian distress, we should have a National Policy on Loan Waiver. The state government would be willing to support any initiative taken by the Central government in this direction,” he said in a letter to the Prime Minister, a copy of which was released to media on Monday.

The Chief Minister had written the letter on June 16 ahead of NITI Aayog’s Governing Council meet in Delhi on Sunday, which he had not attended.

Patnaik, in the letter, suggested that Union government should consider the creation of a Credit Guarantee Trust for Agriculture (CGTA) on the lines of Credit Guarantee Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE).

He said collateral free agricultural loans to Rs 50 lakh and collateral free crop loans upto Rs 2 lakhs could be extended backed only by the guarantee of CGTA.

“Further, in order to have holistic development and transformation of the agriculture sector, I would suggest that recommendations of the Swaminathan Committee on Farmers may be implemented in right earnest on a fast track mode,” he added.

He said a vital step would be to increase the Minimum Support Price for the crops.

“Though the announcement made in the Union Budget that the Minimum Support Price (MSP) will be kept for all crops at least at one and half times of the production cost is a welcome one, I am of the view that the cost of production must take into account the actual cost incurred by farmers on a realistic basis. We are keenly waiting for the modalities of calculation,” said the Chief Minister.

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The Chief Minister also said the state government would be willing to consider joining the Ayushman Bharat scheme in due course if the concerns of the state are addressed adequately.

The state government has rejected the central health scheme and instead it launched its own scheme, the Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana.