Gujarat: Congress promises loan waiver, free electricity for farmers; reservation for women in cooperatives

Addressing the “resentment” among farmers against the BJP, Gujarat Congress president Jagdish Thakor said that his party would bring a law to prohibit the purchase of farm produce below the MSP

Gujarat: Congress promises loan waiver, free electricity for farmers; reservation for women in cooperatives
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NH Political Bureau

As the ruling party BJP and the new entrant in Gujarat, AAP spar over poll-doles, the main opposition party Congress – in order to woo a powerful farmer community – has announced a loan waiver scheme with free electricity to each and every farmer in Gujarat.

The grand old party has also announced 33 per cent reservation for women in cooperatives also.

According to the last Census, the total number of registered farmers in Gujarat is around 53.19 lakh; of them 20.17 were marginal farmers, 16.15 lakh small farmers, 11.50 lakh semi-medium farmers, 4.95 lakh medium farmers and 39,893 big farmers.

Gujarat: Congress promises loan waiver, free electricity for farmers; reservation for women in cooperatives
Gujarat: Congress promises loan waiver, free electricity for farmers; reservation for women in cooperatives
Gujarat: Congress promises loan waiver, free electricity for farmers; reservation for women in cooperatives

“53 lakh is not a small number…Farmers can swing the poll, especially in rural areas. In Saurashtra region farmers feel only Rahul Gandhi raised their issues at the national level,” said a Gujarat Congress leader.

Announcing the loan waiver scheme (which did wonders for the UPA in Lok Sabha polls in 2009), Congress said that if the party is voted to power in the state it would waive farm loans of up to Rs 3 lakh and provide free electricity for 10 hours daily to farmers in the state.

Assembly elections are due by the year end in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.

Addressing the “resentment” among farmers against the BJP, which has been in power in the state since 2002, Gujarat Congress president Jagdish Thakor said that his party would bring a law to prohibit the purchase of farm produce below the minimum support price (MSP).

“Though the ruling BJP claims that Gujarat is a power surplus state, farmers are not getting adequate electricity for agriculture. If Congress comes to power, it will provide free electricity to farmers for 10 hours, that too during the day. We will also withdraw penalties and cases of electricity theft lodged against farmers,” added Thakor.

Both, BJP and AAP had made similar announcements for the electorates. But Congress’ announcement assumes significance given the fact that when the party was in power in Delhi, it had waived off a loan worth Rs 72,000 crores.

“Farmers in Gujarat are reeling under huge debt. But instead of providing a relief, the BJP had waived loans of industrialists. In the first cabinet meeting after coming to power, the Congress will make a decision to abolish all the farm loans below Rs 3 lakh,” the Congress leader said.

Notably, other senior Congress leaders, such as Arjun Modhwadia and Tushar Chaudhary, held simultaneous press conferences in Rajkot, Surat and Vadodara on Friday to announce these promises.


The Congress also announced that laws would be changed to “free cooperative sector from the clutches of BJP” and a bonus of Rs 5 per litre to cattle-rearers would be given in addition to the milk procurement price

Alleging irregularities and corruption in the preparation of new land records using satellite mapping, the Gujarat Congress said a fresh mapping exercise would be conducted with a “scientific manner”.

“We will also set up Agri Assistance Centres in each village to provide guidance to farmers. To help the cultivators in getting more income from their farm produce through value addition, we will set up agro-based MSME units in each taluka to process agricultural produce,” said Congress.

In 2017 assembly polls while BJP bagged 99 seats, Congress won 77 seats and others got 6 seats.

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