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Congress Demands a National Policy on Farm Loans

Picture used for representational purpose.

Picture used for representational purpose.

Pointing out that former PM Manmohan Singh-led UPA government had waived farmers' loans amounting to Rs 72,000 crore, Congress said the Centre cannot wash their hands off by leaving it to the states.

Bengaluru: Congress on Sunday demanded that the central government formulate a national policy on farm loans.

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President G Parameshwara said that if there was a national policy, all states that now have different polices, would follow a uniform rule.

“There would be uniformity in approach by both central and state governments when they waive such loans,” he said.

“We in Karnataka are committed to address farmers’ issues. Central government should formulate a national policy in this regard, so that states also follow it. I demand a national policy on these kinds of issues,” Parameshwara said.

"When you (central government) can overnight formulate a law banning read beacons, why can't you formulate a national policy when farmers from across the country are demanding for loan waiver faced by drought?" he questioned.

Pointing out that former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh led UPA government had waived farmers' loans amounting to about Rs 72,000 crore, he said the central government cannot just wash their hands off by leaving it to the states.

"As a national government it should come out with a national policy so that everyone agrees to it," he added.

Asked about Congress government in Karnataka not announcing a farm loan waiver for farmers when their leader Rahul Gandhi was demanding the same in Madhya Pradesh, he said, "We are holding discussions in this regard and our government is committed to address the issues faced by farmers."

Parameshwara reiterated Karnataka's demand that the Centre first waive loans availed by farmers through nationalized banks, adding that such loans got through state run cooperative banks was very small compared to nationalised banks.

He was speaking to reporters while briefing them of party vice-president Rahul Gandhi's visit here on Monday to attend National Herald's event to celebrate 70 years of independence with release of a commemorative publication.

Gandhi will also attend a Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee's extended general body meeting, where he will address about 1,500 party workers and office bearers about the preparations for the 2018 assembly polls in the state.

First launched in 1938 as a daily in the vanguard of the Freedom Movement, the Congress-owned newspaper National Herald had in November last year staged a comeback with a digital version, eight years after it had downed shutters.

The publication has come in the midst of a legal battle over its past, which has ensnared Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi.