Yogi Adityanath in the cabinet meet decided to write off farm loans worth almost Rs 40,000 crore.
Lucknow: The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh today decided at a cabinet meeting to write off farm loans worth almost Rs 40,000 crore. Minister Siddharth Nath Singh said after the meeting that the decision met an election promise of the BJP and would help 2.15 crores or 92.5 per cent of UP's farmers. It was the first cabinet meeting held by Chief Minster Yogi Adityanath since he took oath 15 days ago, delayed because he wanted to keep Prime Minister Narendra Modi's promise of a farm loan waiver.
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Farm loans of up to one lakh rupees have been waived by the state government today. Mr Singh said Rs 30,729 crore was required to write off loans of small and marginal farmers. Also, about seven lakh farmers had taken loans which had turned into non-performing assets or NPAs and these dues of almost 6,000 crore were being written off.
The BJP had in its poll manifesto for Uttar Pradesh promised to write off loans taken by small and marginal farmers. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had while campaigning in UP said this would be announced in the very first cabinet meeting if the BJP formed government in the state.
The state government has also today announced farmer relief bonds and 7,000 procurement centres for wheat. The UP government will procure all the wheat produced in the state it has been decided and ministers will monitor the process.
All farmers will be paid for harvests immediately, with the money going directly to their bank accounts, Sidharth Nath Singh said.
The cabinet endorsed key decisions taken by the new Chief Minister immediately after he took over. Mr Singh said the "cabinet is in agreement that all illegal slaughterhouses will be shut, keeping in mind Supreme Court rules and National Green Tribunal norms." He said only 26 illegal slaughterhouses have been closed.
Shrikant Sharma, also a UP minister, said after the meeting that anti-Romeo squads set up on the orders of the Chief Minister to target men who harass women, are "doing great work across the state."
"When Anti-Romeo squads are deployed, they are briefed thoroughly by senior officials; opposition leaders have tried to tarnish the campaign...the police gave been given instructions not to harass couples who are sitting in public places and they are subject to action if found guilty," the minister said.
In another cabinet decision, Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Maurya will head a new panel to monitor illegal mining.
Most chief ministers usually hold cabinet meetings right after they are sworn-in and Yogi Adityanath broke with the practice to be able to meet the farm loan waiver promise, sources said. He had however held a few informal meetings with ministers since taking oath on March 19.
Officials, sources said, began working on details of the waiver and who should benefit soon after the oath ceremony. Sources said one of the reasons that the first cabinet meeting was pushed to April is because clearing such large amount in the remaining part of the 2016-17 fiscal would have created financial problems.