Jaipur, Sept 14: The Rajasthan government, led Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, announced a Rs 20,000 crore farm-loan waiver on Thursday after a marathon meeting with protesting farmers of Sikar. Rajasthan Agriculture Minister Prabhulal Saini made the announcement, after which he agitation that was called by farmers in Sikar has now been called off. The government will form a team that will study the loan waiver process implemented in states like Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Punjab.
“We have agreed to waive loans for farmers up to Rs 50,000. A high-level team of specialists will talk to stakeholders in other states and chart out the process of loan waiver and its impact in Rajasthan,” announced Prabhulal Saini at a press conference. As thousands of farmers gathered in Sikar, disrupting traffic on roads and highways and causing inconvenience to people, the government had called the farmer leaders for talks on Tuesday.
While the protesting farmers were demanding waiver of all loans amounting to Rs 49,500 crore, the Rajasthan government was adamant that as per records, the loans amounted to Rs 19,700 crore. The deadlock ended after three rounds of talks since Tuesday. Ministers Prabhulal Saini, Ajay Kilak, Pushpendra Singh and Rampratap along with state BJP President Ashok Parnami negotiated on demands with an 11 member farmers’ delegation.
Besides loan waiver, the farmers were also demanding rise in Minimum Support Price (MSP) based on input cost, calling a special session of the state assembly for discussion of their issues, formulating farmer-friendly agricultural policies and implementation of some irrigation projects.