After protesting against the Karnataka Crisis outside the parliament, former Congress chief and Wayanad Lok Sabha representative Rahul Gandhi on Thursday has addressed the house, for the first time in the 17th Lok Sabha, regarding the farmer loans recovery moratorium imposed by the Kerala government till 31 December 2019.
Appraising the house of the on-ground situation in Kerala where farmers are facing severe debts, Rahul Gandhi has said that the bank recovery notices have pushed them to suicide.
"It hurts me to inform the house that just yesterday, a farmer in Kerala has committed suicide due to his crushing debt. In Wayanad alone, bank notices have been given to almost 8500 farmers and are facing immediate eviction. Their properties are attached to their bank loans. This is resulting in a spate of farmer suicides," he said.
Detailing the moratorium passed by the Kerala government regarding farm loan recovery, Gandhi has pointed out that the government has yet to direct the RBI to implement the moratorium.
"In Kerala, 18 farmers have committed suicide since banks started recovery proceedings one and a half years ago. Government of Kerala has announced a moratorium on all repayment of farmer loans till 31, December 2019. Meanwhile, the Government of India has refused to direct the RBI to consider this moratorium," he added.
Comparing the BJP government's tax cuts to the wealthy, he said that this budget has not provided any relief to the farmers reminding the house of the Prime Minister's promises to the farmers. He requested the government to do the needful immediately.
" In the last 5 years, the BJP government has given 4.3 lakh crores as tax concessions and waived 5.5 lakh crores tax to wealthy businessmen. Why these shameful double standards? Why does the government act as if our farmers are inferior to the rich? No concrete steps have been taken in this budget to provide relief to farmers. I would like to request the government to direct the RBI to consider the moratorium given by the Kerala government ensuring that the banks don't threaten with recovery notices. The Prime Minister has made promises five years ago regarding prices to the farmers and I request the government to fulfill these," he said.
Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh provided a reply to Rahul Gandhi's request on behalf of the Modi Cabinet. he slammed the previous governments for the plight of the farmers adding that while the government wishes to do more for the farmers, the suicide rates have definitely reduced in the past 5 years under PM Modi's rule.
Earlier in the day, Congress leaders including Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Anand Sharma protested in front of Gandhi statue in Parliament. Speaking to news agency ANI Rahul Gandhi said, "We are protesting against Karnataka and Goa issue," referring to the spate of resignations by MLAs occurring in Karnataka and the sudden merger of CLP Goa with the BJP.
Meanwhile, putting its foot down on the Karnataka Crisis, the Supreme Court on Thursday, has ordered the 10 rebel MLAs who had filed a plea in the apex court against the Karnataka Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar, to appear before the Speaker in Bengaluru on the same day itself before 6 PM, as revealed by Supreme advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who represented the 10 rebel MLAs in the apex court.