Modi govt considers 3 farm-relief options to claw its way back ahead of Lok Sabha Polls’19

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PM Modi-led BJP government is taking three options for farm-relief into consideration. These farm relief packages are expected to mitigate the suffering of farmers because of low crop prices. The government is mulling over relief packages worth Rs 3 lakh crore to be dedicated to the farmers.

The top three options under observation are– 1)Direct payment to all landowning farmers, 2)Compensation to the farmers who sold the crops below government prices, and 3) Loan Waiver Program.

Two sources from the central ministries, on the condition of anonymity, have told that the quickest, most feasible option is to directly pay landowning farmers Rs 1,700-2,000 per
acre. This option is also the most favoured one inside the government. According to the estimates by the Finance Ministry, giving farmers the money before the next sowing season would cost the exchequer up to 1 lakh crore rupees.

The other option available for the government is to compensate the farmers for the difference they received by selling their crops in the market compared with the government price that is set that crop. This option is more economical and would cost the exchequer about Rs 50,000 crores. However, this option has some important drawbacks because the government support schemes have miserably failed in credibility and they don’t cover all the farm produce. Also, the middlemen have taken undue advantage of such schemes by
persuading the farmers to give them part of the subsidy or compensation.

The last and the most expensive option involves writing off the farm loans by up to         Rs. 100,000 per person. This option will cost the government exchequer as much as Rs 3 lakh crores. It is the least favoured option inside the government. However, the opposition party Congress has been pushing hard for this option.

The BJP-led government is determined to find a way to claw back its support among around 26.30 crore farmers and the many more who are dependent on farmers. The move came weeks after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lost power to Congress in three of the heartland states.

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