Bhubaneswar: At a time when the States are in a competition to outdo each other in waiving farm loans, the Odisha Government is contemplating to announce a comprehensive package for farmers and development of farm sector in the State.
According to sources, the State Government may announce a hike in the minimum support price (MSP) of paddy in the New Year.
Speaking to media, Finance Minister Sashi Bhusan Behera said, “The Government is looking various aspects of farm issues. The Centre should come up with a National Policy of Farm sector.”
Notably, in June this year, the Chief Minister had instead suggested the Centre for a national policy framework on farm loan waiver and extended support to any initiative in this direction.
Earlier the Odisha CM while congratulating the Congress, the TRS and MNF for their electoral victory, Naveen had attributed the BJP’s debacle in the five states that recently went to polls to the Centre’s failure to protect the interests of farmers with regards to MSP for paddy and implementation of the M.S. Swaminanthan Committee recommendations (on remunerative prices for agricultural produce).
According to sources, the Odisha government is working out financial implications of these decisions on the state exchequer. The government is evaluating the pros and cons of farm loan waiver.
According to a rough estimate, the cumulative loan outstanding on farmers till the end of 2017-18 fiscal will cost over Rs 26,000 crore.
“Farm loan waiver up to Rs 50,000 per farmer will put a put a financial burden of over Rs 26,000 crore on the state coffers. The amount will be Rs 15,000 crore for cooperative banks only”, sources said.
The farm loan wavier is likely to benefit more than 54.24 lakhs farmers in the state.