Haryana announces interest waiver on crop loans in state budget

Haryana announces interest waiver on crop loans in state budget
A Rs 1.89 lakh crore Haryana budget for 2024-25 presented in the state Assembly on Friday provides for waiver of interest and penalty on crop loans taken by farmers form Primary Agriculture Credit Societies (PACS).
The budget proposals were announced by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar at a time when farmers have intensified their protests at Punjab-Haryana borders. In an attempt to pacify the agitated farmers, Khattar asserted that his government has taken many steps for their welfare and that a Minimum Support Price (MSP) is being given for 14 crops.
"I announce to waive interest and penalty on the crop loan in case crop loan was availed till September 30, 2023 and the principal amount is paid by May 31, 2024, provided the farmer is registered with MFMB (Meri Fasal Mera Byora)," he said.
He said that such loans should have been taken by farmers registered on MFMB portal and thereafter, the farmers will be eligible for crop loan from PACS during Kharif season. 
As the chief minister made the announcement, Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh Hooda asked him, "you talk of farmers, then why you slap NSA (National Security Act) on farmers. Farmers are protesting on Haryana's borders". In response, Khattar said that "as much farmers are dear to you, they are to us also. I am the son of a farmer, I know the pain of farmers. When I have announced a scheme in favour of farmers, either you are not able to digest it or not liking it."
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (Non-Political) and the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha (KMM) are spearheading a 'Delhi Chalo' march to press the government into accepting their demands, including a legal guarantee of Minimum Support Price for crops and a farm loan waiver.
The chief minister said a Rs 10 crore startup fund will be set for encouraging drone manufacturing in Haryana. The government will also train women to operate drones for agricultural purposes and these women will be called 'drone didis', he said.
"The state will also make provisions to provide drones, which may be given on rent for agricultural purposes. For details, a notification will be issued later," the chief minister said. Khattar said 21 vegetables and fruit crops have been included in the "Bhavantar Bharpai Yojana to reduce farmers' risk.
In the last two years, stubble-burning incidents dropped by 67 per cent in Haryana, he added.