New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday said his government was committed to implement the farm loan waiver scheme by July even as he accused the erstwhile BJP-led government for the woes of the agricultural sector.
“I pledge that there will be no dilly dallying in the implementation of the farm loan waiver scheme, It will be implemented by July,” he said addressing a farmers’ rally here.
Listing out the steps taken by his government for the welfare of farmers, he said the UPA has doubled agriculture credit, increased the minimum support price and implemented a rural employment guarantee scheme for the benefit of the poor.
Singh said the UPA government has increased the minimum support price (MSP) for wheat and rice by 55% and 33% respectively.
Terming the hike in MSP as “historic”, he attacked the BJP for “ignoring” the farmers by effecting a “marginal” increase in the MSP.
Recalling the ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan´ slogan given by the then Prime Minister Lal Bahadu Shastri, Singh said successive Congress governments have worked for the welfare of farmers whenever the need arose.
The Prime Minster said his government had doubled farm credit in 2004, further increased it in 2005, rolled out special packages for 31 districts in 2006 when farmers were in distress and lowered interest rates on agriculture loans.
“We never considered the farmers issue as a burden but as our duty towards the farmers,” he said pointing out that his government has a Rs35,000 crore package for agriculture in the 11th Plan.
Singh said the initiatives taken by his government will give a “new direction” to agriculture. “We have not stopped. The goal is still far away,” he said.