Mumbai: The Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has promised a nation-wide complete farm loan waiver in its manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections.
The last time that the central government implemented such a waiver was when Pawar was the union agriculture minister in 2008.
“Agriculture is passing through a major crisis. There is no ache din as promised by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Instead, the farmers are in distress and are faced with mere jumlebaji,” reads the NCP’s manifesto, which was released Monday.
“Indebtedness, growing suicides and lack of adequate price for agriculture produce have wreaked havoc on the farming community… We will provide a complete loan waiver to all farmers.”
The NCP has tied up with the Congress for these elections.
‘Loan waiver will be part of Cong-NCP common minimum prog’
NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said the promise will be a part of the alliance’s common minimum programme.
“The modalities will be worked out,” Malik said. “The loan waivers given by the various Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led state governments have been a complete failure, hardly benefitting a few. Our aim is that the 7/12 land extract, a document that reflects debt, should be entirely clean.”
Malik further said that if voted to power, the Congress-NCP combine will address one of the criticisms that plagued the 2008 waiver — that it took a long time to implement.
“Ten years have passed and there is better technology now to ensure effective implementation of such a scheme,” he said. “Ultimately, if the intention is right, the implementation will be right too.”
Other promises in NCP manifesto
Malik, a former Maharashtra legislator, said the NCP has decided to focus on kisan (farmer) and naujavan (the youth) in its manifesto.
Besides a loan waiver, the NCP has promised to give free education to girls from kindergarten to post-graduation, a minimum 100 days of guaranteed jobs for the youth and assured representation for youngsters in local bodies.
The party has also promised to bring back the Women’s Reservation Bill, currently in limbo, to provide 33 per cent representation to women in Parliament, have a single rate or at the most two slabs under the Goods and Services Tax and implement a legislation ‘Right to Health’ on the lines of ‘Right to Education’ Act.
The manifesto also promises to scrap the Triple Talaq Bill in its current form and tackle issues related to personal law within minority communities by facilitating a discussion between various groups in the community.