economy | IST

PM Modi likely to take bigger steps for farmers than all-India loan waiver, says ICRIER's Ashok Gulati

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CNBC-TV18 has learnt that the government is considering relief measures for farmers, which includes a higher minimum support price (MSP) for some crops, improvements to the Fasal Bima Yojana and a income package. To discuss what works best for the farmers, CNBC-TV18 spoke with Dr Ashok Gulati, Chair Professor Agriculture, ICRIER.

CNBC-TV18 has learnt that the government is considering relief measures for farmers, which includes a higher minimum support price (MSP) for some crops, improvements to the Fasal Bima Yojana and a income package.
To discuss what works best for the farmers, CNBC-TV18 spoke with Dr Ashok Gulati, Chair Professor Agriculture, ICRIER.
"The quick fix that can be done within 3 months is primarily big announcements but how of much of that can be operationalized and distributed within 3 months is doubtful."
According to him, "The government did announce MSPs but some commodity prices are still 20-40 percent below market prices. So, the PM’s Asha Scheme has not really taken off."
"It likely that the PM would do something more innovative and bigger than all-India loan waiver," said Gulati. He said if the opposition party is announcing total loan waiver then just postponement of loan payments by one-year would not get the ruling party enough votes.
Talking about the other options, Gulati said, “One thing the Centre can do is invite states. It can be a joint responsibility that the Centre is going to announce a package and those state governments, which are ready to join in this package -- the Centre can say they will give 50-60-70 percent of the cost but the states will have to update the land records.”
“I would also go a step further and say that bring and announce fertilizer and power subsidy of the states also onto the same package. So that you have major step forward in that direction but it will not be distributed in the next 2-3 months. It will be an announcement and then assurance that as you update the land records and if agricultural labourers are included then records have to be created and also need to be linked to Aadhaar, so we know how much is going in each account,” said Gulati.
According to him,  "Loan waiver at national level could be around Rs 4-5 lakh crore, if one were to cut corners."
 
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