Friday, February 29, 2008
BAILING BANKS, NOT FARMERS
SHOW ME THE MONEY, HONEY!
By Manuwant Choudhary
India's Finance MInister P. Chidambaram at his populist best...waiving off Rs.60,000 crores of bank debt for small and marginal farmers having less than 2 acres of land...this is about bailing public sector banks and not farmers. Just as fertiliser subsidy is for the fertliser factories and very little reaches the Indian farmer.
And no budgetery allocation has been made for the same.
Show Me The Money, Honey is what most are asking...but the Congress Party has gone back to doing what it knows best ...bribing voters.
Six months before this announcement bank officials were hunting for small farmers who were not even seeking loans...the loanees were sought by the banks and money handed to them.
And now the farmers dont have to pay back. All they must do is vote for the Congress Party.
First the Congress Party allowed farmers to commit suicides in their thousands in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh and now farmers have been shown how without working hard, without even thinking about paying back loans...they can simply walk away with money taken as loan from a bank.
But the good news is that less than one per cent farmers actually take loans and when they do they take it from moneylenders because a moneylender simply lends money when the farmer needs it most i.e. for his daughters wedding or when he is ill - no questions asked.
When many in the cities argue that farmers must pay income tax..they forget that the financial sector is actually heavily anti rural India.
No farmer can get any personal loan.
Even when cars are getting cheaper farmers cannot avail of the zero per cent monthly EMI schemes - thats reserved for the salaried class.
Even to buy a tractor a farmer must mortgage his land..and two acre farmers don't buy tractors.
A farmer cannot buy TVs and fridges or seek loan for his medical needs. He can get loans only on some crops that the banks think India needs even if that may be not commercial enough monetarily.
And this years budget is a full circle...a socialist Manmohan Singh becoming an architect of liberalisation and now a votary for socialist budget melas.
India or the farmers can never be strong this way.