New Delhi, Feb 22 (IANS) The Congress will give a comprehensive loan waiver to farmers at the national level if it comes to power in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, party sources said on Friday.
The loan waiver will complement the minimum income guarantee already announced by the party and these measures, along with those being worked out for other sections, are expected to be game-changers for the party in the polls.
The farm loan waiver had yielded the party political benefits in last year’s assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan and the party is now ruling the three states.
“We will announce the loan waiver for all the farmers in the country,” Nana Patole, Chairman, All India Kisan Congress told IANS.
He said the amount of loan waived would be bigger than the Rs 72,000 crore waiver announced by the Congress-led UPA government and it could be to the tune of Rs 2 lakh crore.
He said that farm loan waiver was one of the several steps the party has planned for welfare of farmers.
“The loan waiver is intended to allow them to stand on their own feet. We will supplement it with other measures to improve their income,” he said.
Patole said that the party will bring down cost of agriculture and give more price to farmers.
“If input cost comes down, they will have more money in their hands,” he said
Patole said that the party is keen on localised food-processing which will help prevent wastage of vegetables and fruits and also create employment.
The party had said at its plenary last year that it would come out with a loan-waiver scheme for small and marginal farmers similar to that announced by the UPA government in 2009 if voted to power in the general election.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi had announced last month that the party would ensure “minimum income guarantee” for every poor person in the country if it is voted to power in the coming Lok Sabha polls.
Apart from the farm loan waiver and minimum income guarantee, the party is planning measures for the welfare of the landless wokers, agriculture workers, small shopkeepers and youth.
The announcements will be part of party’s manifesto.