Crop loan waiver assurance in UP state-specific: Venkaiah Naidu

Hyderabad: Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday said the farm debt waiver scheme assured by the BJP in the run-up to the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections was “state-specific” and not a “national policy” of the Central government.

“Crop loan waiver for farmers of UP was a state-specific assurance given by the BJP leadership during the election campaign (of UP polls). Once the government is formed (in UP), they will definitely consider it positively and try to implement the same.

“This is not the national policy of the government. It is state-specific,” he told PTI amid ongoing attempts by the Opposition to pin down the BJP over the issue in Lok Sabha.

Recently, during a debate in the Lower House, members from several parties, after taking objection to the farm loan waiver promised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during campaigning in UP, had demanded that the government waive loans of farmers across the country to bring down the number of suicides.

Referring to demands by some other states for a similar waiver, the Union Information and Broadcasting Minister said, “It (loan waiver) depends on the resources and financial viability of the states. They (states) are free to take their own decisions.”

Charging the Centre with discrimination is not correct, he said, adding “there is no North and South issue involved in this,” making a thinly-veiled reference to the comments made by popular Telugu actor and Jana Sena founder Pawan Kalyan that the “Centre discriminates between North and South.”

On the issue of the election of BJP Legislature party leader in Uttar Pradesh, Naidu said he will be attending it as a party observer.

“I am already in touch with the state leadership and legislators. After the meeting we will complete the consultation. I will have a word with the national president (of BJP). The leader (the Chief Ministerial candidate) will be declared by this evening. Swearing in will be tomorrow,” he said.

He added that the Prime Minister, chief ministers of BJP-led governments, besides senior party leaders would be attending the swearing in ceremony.