Bihar polls: Grand Alliance launches tested plan to waive agricultural loans

The farm loan exemption, the mother of all political pledges, has now made a splash in Bihar’s poll scenario, with the main opposition party RJD making the pledge on Saturday while releasing the party’s manifesto.

Previously, Congress, which is an alliance partner of the Mahagathbandhan (Grande Alliance) led by the RJD, had pledged agricultural loans in addition to a 50% discount on electricity bills to farmers in its manifesto titled ‘Badlav Patras 2020‘(The Change Document) released Wednesday.

Lily: RJD publishes manifesto for Bihar polls; offers 10 lakh jobs, agricultural loan exemption

The entry of the agricultural loan waiver pledge in Bihar polls could give the opposition a boost as 80 percent of Bihar’s population is engaged in agricultural activities.

Out of 104.32 lakh hectares of agricultural land, 86.46 lakh (82.9%) belong to marginal farmers, 10.06 lakh (9.6%) to small farmers and 7.81 lakh (7.5% ) to farmers with land of more than 2 hectares.

Congress, without specifying the amount of land held for loan forgiveness, said the loan to farmers would be canceled, tractor registration fees would not be charged, and farmers would receive a subsidy of $ 50. % on electricity bills.

However, while in the past parties pledging to waive farm loans before elections have reaped rich dividends, they find it a Herculean task to accomplish if they come to power.

Read also: Bihar polls: free Covid-19 vaccine is perfectly in order, says Nirmala Sitharaman

The UPA government, which announced the Rs 60,000 crore renunciation of agriculture pushed by Congress President Sonia Gandhi, took another blow to power in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls. Prime Minister Narendra Modi later targeted Congress for the “lollipop loan waiver”, repeatedly asking farmers if they were benefiting from it.

There were problems when Congress backed down on this in the 2018 state elections for Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. The problem lay more in the large agrarian state of Madhya Pradesh, where the alleged delayed and partial waiver came in for a brutal BJP attack in the 2019 polls in Lok Sabha. Congress lost the support of farmers less than a year after taking office.

Again ahead of the 2019 Haryana polls, Congress pledged it would forgo loans from farmers who take out small loans days after coming to power, as it did in Punjab, Madhya Pradesh. , Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. The party, however, failed to seize power in the agricultural state.

In Bihar, the RJD manifesto highlighted the increase in farmers’ incomes and the renunciation of the KCC (Kisan Credit Card) loan taken out by farmers until 2020, in addition to promising to buy cereals from farmers at a lower price. Improved Minimum Support (MSP) with bonuses included.

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