All India Kisan Sabha AIKS has condemned the statement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi equating farm loan waivers to lollipops. It said that 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. 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 have not been able to ensure remunerative prices for crops.
Narendra Modi seems to be hit by selective amnesia and his latest statement on farm loan waivers smacks 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 under the banner of AIKSCC, the Prime Minister once again assured of 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, Rather than dump the entire idea the BJP Government should look at the Kerala Debt Relief Commission and take steps to ensure that loan waivers reach the real cultivators, especially the landless tenants, small and middle peasantry.
AIKS would also like to remind Narendra Modi and the BJP that it is the aggressive pursuit of neoliberal policies, withdrawal of State from investment in agriculture, accelerating of trade and financial liberalisation, faulty import policies as well as the disastrous demonetisation decision that has depressed farm incomes and pushed farmers into extreme indebtedness. Before talking against loan waivers, the BJP Government should reverse these disastrous policies and come up with confidence building measures that will make agriculture viable. AIKS also is of the firm opinion that unless the 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 Narendra Modi have failed to fulfill their election time promises to the peasantry and are indulging in empty rhetoric. AIKS warns them that the peasantry have seen through their game and will create an atmosphere for their defeat in the forthcoming elections by building intense struggles.