Promise of loan waiver a challenge for TDP

Updated - November 16, 2021 08:05 pm IST

Published - May 18, 2014 03:09 pm IST - HYDERABAD:

Even as the euphoria continues over the Telugu Desam Party’s emphatic victory in the just concluded general elections in Seemandhra, the party’s strategy planners are faced with the herculean task of fulfilling its promise of a loan waiver to farmers and self-help groups.

The two promises which propelled the party to power after a decade are set to impose huge costs on the exchequer of the new State when they are implemented.

With TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu making it clear that the file on farm loan waiver would be among the first to be cleared by his government, the strategy planners are exploring ways to make sure the promises are fulfilled.

According to conservative estimates, farm loan waiver in Seemandhra region could burden the exchequer by close to Rs. 47,000 crore. The TDP’s own estimates, after factoring in aspects such as quantum of long and short-term loans, place the requirement upwards of Rs. 35,000 crore. Coupled with waiver of loans to women under Development Of Women And Children In Rural Areas, the figure could be over Rs. 40,000 crore.

The financial implications of the promises could be seen from Mr. Naidu’s statement that the agenda set for the party and the government was ‘daunting’. “The complexity of the issue increases given the fact that uncertainty looms large over everything, including the capital and finances post bifurcation. You have to start from scratch,” Mr. Naidu said.

The TDP president’s advisors asserted that Mr. Naidu made the promise after discussing the implications threadbare with experts and his associates several times. “He [Mr. Naidu] firmly believes that waiver of farmers’ loans is for public good. The one-time package will provide relief to farmers and help in ensuring rural social stability and cohesion,” an advisor said.

The TDP is considering various possibilities, including seeking the Central government’s help in providing the much needed relief to the debt-ridden farmers so that they can start their activity afresh in the new State. The government, on its part, could make budgetary provision for loan waiver and utilise the proceeds of the Central assistance for ensuring repayment to the banks concerned, if not in one go, at least in phases. “Such an adjustment will ensure that farmers are relieved at once and the government will get some time to firm up its finances,” an advisor engaged in the exercise said.

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