The Yogi Adityanath government's waiver of farmer loans in Uttar Pradesh is partial, but "a step in the right direction," said Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi in a series of tweets today. He has also sought a national response from the central government, asking rival BJP, which rules both at the centre and in UP, to "not discriminate amongst states".
On Tuesday evening, at the first cabinet meeting called by UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath 15 days after he took oath, the UP government announced that loans of less than one lakh taken by small and marginal farmers, amounting to over 30,000 crores, would be waived. It also wrote off almost 6,000 crore in bad loans and said these measures would benefit 92.5 per cent of UP's farmers, who owe banks a total Rs. 62,000 crore.
Yogi Aditynath broke with the tradition of calling a cabinet meeting immediately after he was sworn in. By delaying the meet he was able to keep an election promise made by the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had said a farm loan waiver would be announced in the first cabinet meeting if the BJP came to power in UP.
The BJP had been forced to see reason, said Rahul Gandhi, who has been demanding a waiver of loans for distressed farmers across the country.
The Samajwadi Party's Akhilesh Yadav, Rahul Gandhi's partner for the UP elections, was more critical, calling the waiver announced yesterday a "betrayal" of farmers. "Promise was to waive the entire loan... farmers are feeling cheated as the government fixed a limit of Rs. one lakh. The poor farmers have been betrayed," Akhilesh Yadav tweeted on Tuesday.