Memorandum to AP Chief Secretary on Loan Waiver

140622-Chief-Secretary-Telangana-final Download

Rytu Swarajya Vedhika has a submitted a memorandum with the following demands.

  1. As a first measure, the Government must delink the loan waiver proposal from distribution of Kharif loans for the current agricultural season and should immediately take action to disburse crop loans  without delay to all the farmers including Tenant farmers.
  2. While the farming community is in deep crisis due to indebtedness, loan waiver is not a solution to end the crisis. The crisis is still continuing even after the debt waiver and relief extended during 2008.   A comprehensive solution lies in bringing in policy changes related to all aspects of agriculture (Credit, input support, extension and marketing) as well as pursuing the land reforms agenda with renewed vigour to bring about a meaningful change in the agriculture sector to help close to 85% ofsmall and marginal farmersto secure and sustain their livelihoods. . A piecemeal, myopic solution to the problem in the form of loan waivers alone is a grossly inadequate solution to the larger, complex set of problems ailing the farming sector in the State.
  3. Tenant farmers, dalits, tribal and women farmers who received lands under various land distributionschemes do not have access to institutional credit. They are taking loans from private money lenders, input dealers or Microfinance Institutions at a higher interest rate (as high as 60% Rs. 5 per Rs. 100 per month).  These farmers  are in deep crisis and constitute a large chunk of farmers committing suicides. This loan waiver is of no help  to them.
  4. Government should make immediate effort to increase access to institutional credit to real cultivators.  One of the problems often expressed by the bankers in giving crop loans to these farmers is the lack of a guarantee for repayment. The state government should establish a Credit Guarantee Fund for small and marginal farmers which can give collateral security to the tenant farmers.
  5. All the real cultivators who are not covered under institutional credit are to be organised into cooperatives and linked to the institutional credit.  All their high interest private loans can be swapped with low interest bank loans.
  6. Loans of all farmers who have committed suicides since 1997 have to be waived and their private loans be swapped with no interest bank loans.
  7. Government should introduce special budget for agriculture with an allocation of atleast 10% of the total budget.
  8. Government must ensure that the loan waiver does not benefit non-cultivating, absentee land owners who have other major sources of income or livelihood and have taken loans in the name of agriculture. Specific mechanisms must be evolved to identify and eliminate the above categories of landowners from the purview of the loan waiver scheme. Further, steps must be taken to identify the actual cultivators and update the revenue records accordingly. Government must also actively explore mechanisms (e.g. setting up a separate Committee) for evolving a set of criteria to enable eligible farmers benefit from the loan waiver scheme in a meaningful manner.
  9. Government should also take care that the loan waiver does not apply to ineligible loanees through the following measures
    1. Restricting the loan waiver only to crop loans
    2. In case government decides to waive short term and allied sector loans, it should be restricted to small and marginal farmers only (up to 4 ha in rainfed areas, 2 ha in irrigated areas)
    3. Exempting Hyderabad district from the purview of the loan waiver. A thorough enquiry should be conducted and if need be waiver can be extended in the second phase. Pending this, the crop loan waiver up to one lakh for all farmers in the other district should be done immediately.
  10. Government should with stain from any effort to impose additional taxes or issue bonds and transfer the burden on to people or the next government.

Mr. Prime Minister – You are wrong. GM crops are dangerous, and there is sound scientific evidence. says Coalition for GM Free India

Mr. Prime Minister – You are wrong. GM crops are dangerous, and there is sound scientific evidence. says Coalition for GM Free India

Coalition challenges the PM to prove that concerns about Bt Crops are prejudiced.

New Delhi, 4th Feb, 2014: Reacting to the promotional statement on Genetically Modified (GM) crops by the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in his inaugural address at the Indian Science Congress which started in Jammu yesterday [1], the Coalition for a GM Free India stated that the Prime Minister is wrong and wilfully misleading the nation on the issue of genetically modified (GM) crops.

The statement by the PM that the nation “should not succumb to unscientific prejudices against Bt crop” comes at a time when there is a growing body of scientific evidence on the adverse impacts of GM crops on human health, environment and farm livelihoods. The Coalition had recently released a compilation of more than 400 abstracts of peer reviewed scientific papers that points to the various adverse impacts from GM crops [2].

The Final Report of the Technical Expert Committee (TEC) set up by the Supreme Court of India in a PIL against open releases of GMOs into the environment has pointed to the inherent risks associated with GM crops and the absolute failure of the Indian regulatory system on GM crops. The TEC comprised of eminent scientists from the fields of molecular biology, toxicology, biodiversity, nutrition science etc had recommended against any open release of GM crops including for experimental trials, until a robust regulatory system is put in place. This was followed by more than 250 eminent Indian scientists including Padma awardees and 11 current and former Vice chancellors, writing to the Prime Minister about the serious concerns on GM crops[3]. They demanded that the Government of India stay clear of any vested interests and accept the recommendations of the TEC Final report as it is based on sound science, principles of sustainability and intergenerational justice.

Challenging the PM to prove his point that concerns about Bt Crops (GM crops with  toxin genes from the soil bacteria Bacillus thuringenesis) are unscientific and prejudiced, the coalition also reminded that it was his own Government had agreed to serious lacunae in the biosafety studies related to Bt Brinjal, the first GM food crop that came up for commercialisation and had put it under an indefinite moratorium. The Coalition for GM Free India demands Dr Manmohan Singh and his government to stop peddling risky GM crops and stand by the side of sound science and people of India.

Notes to the editor

1. The Prime Minister’s inaugural speech at the Indian Science Congress can be accessed at

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/pmreleases.aspx?mincode=3

2. The 2nd edition of the scientific compilation on adverse impacts of GM crops can be accessed at http://indiagminfo.org/?p=657

3. The letter to PM on concerns with GM crops by Indian Scientists can be accessed at http://indiagminfo.org/?p=654

For more info:

Rajesh Krishnan, Convenor, Coalition for GM Free India,

Mob: 09845650032 , email: rajeshecologist@gmail.com

Coalition for a GM-free India 

Website: www.indiagminfo.org, email : indiagmfree@gmail.com,  Facebook page – GM Watch India