March 27, 2008

Debt Waived for India Farmers

Small and marginal farmers in India will get almost $15 billion in debt relief, thanks to legislation orchestrated by the populist son of the Nehru-Gandhi political family.

Rahul Gandhi, whose family includes several former prime ministers and a turbulent history of assassination, said the farmers deserved the same treatment as “industrialists” who default on billions of rupees borrowed from banks, and then have their obligations waived.

While some farmers complained that they were excluded from debt relief, critics said Gandhi was playing at being “Santa” for the sake of political populism, without concern for the economy, and praised his decision to limit loan waivers.

Taking a cue from Gandhi’s actions at the federal level, state officials in Andrha Pradesh are moving forward with their own debt relief plan, aimed at more than 4 million women and minorities.

Sources:

“Can’t play Santa beyond a point, realises Rahul”
Economic Times (India), March 26, 2008

“When industrialists dont pay, why should farmers: Rahul”
Deccan Herald (India), March 26, 2008

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