A farmers' body on Wednesday condemned Prime Minister Narendra Modi after he equated farm loan waivers allowed by the newly-formed Congress state governments to "lollipops". The All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) called PM Modi's comment "insensitive".
"In times of acute agrarian crisis, falling farm incomes and growing indebtedness, loan waiver has a palliative effect provided it reaches the real cultivators. To the crisis-stricken peasantry it could provide much-needed temporary relief," the AIKS said in a statement.
"Notably, talk of loan waivers are also happening in a context wherein the BJP government has totally failed to curb rising costs of production and has not been able to ensure remunerative prices for crops."
The AIKS accused PM Modi of "selective amnesia", saying his statement on farm loan waivers smacked of dishonesty.
"All through the 2014 election campaign his speeches were laced with not merely the promise of loan waiver to farmers but also the promise of Rs 15 lakh into every account.
"Faced with intense struggles by the AIKS and other organisations of the peasantry, the Prime Minister again assured farm loan waivers in February 2017 before the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.
"BJP governments in Maharashtra and Rajasthan were also forced to announce farm loan waivers after consistent struggles of the peasantry," the statement said.
The farmers' body, however, added that unless states that have announced farm loan waivers pursue alternative agricultural policies, ensure reduction in production costs and assure remunerative prices as well as assist farmers in processing, value addition and marketing, the cycle of indebtedness "is only bound to recur".
"BJP and PM Modi have failed to fulfil their election time promises to the peasantry and are indulging in empty rhetoric," it added.
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