Farm loans taken by over 16 lakh farmers in Tamil Nadu will be waived, said the AIADMK government in the state where election to the legislative assembly will be held this year. The total amount to be waived is Rs 12,110 crore for farm loans taken from cooperative banks, Chief Minister E Palaniswami told the assembly today.
"It is important to help farmers revive farming," said Mr Palaniswami, citing crop loss and hardship to farmers due to the pandemic, two successive cyclones and unseasonal rain.
The waiver will be applicable immediately and funds will be kept aside from the government's wallet to fund it, Mr Palaniswami said.
Agriculture is a dominant sector in Tamil Nadu, with 70 per cent of the population engaged in farming and related activity for their livelihood, the state agriculture department says on its website.
Taking a swipe at the opposition DMK led by MK Stalin, the Chief Minister said the AIADMK is the only party that fulfils promises and launches welfare measures regularly. Mr Palaniswami said the DMK has promised two-acre land to every farmer but couldn't keep the promise, referring to a scheme launched by former chief minister M Karunanidhi.
During his tenure, Mr Karunanidhi had blamed incorrect data on government land quoted by the AIADMK government before him for the confusion.
The AIADMK and the BJP will fight the state election together. Both fought the general election together in 2019. But after a setback in the Lok Sabha election, the AIADMK hopes to trump rival DMK once again in the state where it has been in power for more than nine years now.
The AIADMK defeated the DMK in the 2011 assembly election when former chief minister J Jayalalithaa led the party to a resounding victory. It won again in 2016 before the DMK bounced back with a strong performance in the Lok Sabha election three years later.
Kamal Haasan's Makkal Needhi Maiam is also looking to score some seats in the assembly election. The actor-turned-politician has, however, hinted at realignment of political alliances ahead of the election. He was looking for a possible tie-up with actor Rajinikanth, who eventually decided not to enter politics.