Rajasthan announces Rs 20000 crore farm loan waiver, farmers call off protest

Rajasthan announces Rs 20000 crore farm loan waiver, farmers call off protest”

Following a 13-day-long protest by farmers, the Rajasthan government has agreed to set up a high-level technical committee to decide on a likely farm loan waiver. After the announcement, farmers called off protests in Sikar, which were on for 13 days.

The talks had remained inconclusive on Tuesday as farmer leaders were unwilling to compromise on the debt waiver.

The government has agreed to waive off farm loans of farmers up to Rs 50,000.

"It was also made a decision to reduce the ban on sale of calves from three years to two years", said Amra Ram, National President, Akhil Bhartiya Kisan Sabha.

If Rajasthan agrees to a farm loan waiver, it will be the fifth state to do so.

Ministers Prabhulal Saini, Ajay Kilak, Pushpendra Singh and Rampratap along with state BJP President Ashok Parnami held parleys with an 11 member farmers' delegation including former CPI (M) MLAs Amraram and Pemaram and leaders Harphool Singh, Gursharan Singh, Sheopat Ram, Narayan Dudui, Lalchand Bhadu and Chagganlal. Farmers had blocked several roads in Sikar demanding implementation of the Swaminathan Committee's recommendations and crop loan waiver.

The government also said that it would write to the Centre for a change in the MSP rates, and that it will open khareed kendras this week to purchase kharif crops. It assured farmers that the state government would make adequate arrangements for safety of cattle traders. Farmers who had been protesting for more than two weeks in the state also withdrew their protests.

While the protesting farmers were demanding waiver of all loans amounting to Rs 49,500 crore, the Rajasthan government was adamant that as per records, the loans amounted to Rs 19,700 crore.

He said the blockades in Sikar will continue till demands are met. "We are trying to fulfil demands of the farmers through deliberations", he said. They also demanded free electricity to farmers and the government said that electricity at the rate of 90 paisa per unit is already being provided to farmers.

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