The issue of waiving the loans taken by the farming fraternity of Karnataka during the past few years, lingering on-and-off for several months since the time of campaigning by some political parties whose heavy-weights categorically declared pro-farmer measure of unburdening the debtors if the electorate facilitated formation of government in the State by the respective party continues to be dogged by debates both in political circles and (to a lesser extent) in public domain. The upshot of these debates, whichever way one ponders, doesn’t seem to decisively answer two relevant questions bearing on the issue of loan waiver which is now a fait accompli, although with some conditions attached to implementation of the landmark decision by the incumbent coalition government. The first question: Has the government acted rightly? The second question: Has the government done the right way in taking the cash in the public sector banks, co-operative banks and others? Maybe, a third question: Is the government a bigger debtor after the measure?
Not meaning to cast aspersions on the farming fraternity taking loans from various creditors for good, bad or indifferent purposes, one is prompted to invoke the lines of Poet Sarvajna with the telling message that while taking a loan it feels like experiencing the delight of savouring the choicest sweet dish but when confronting the creditor it feels like facing broken joints of one’s bones.
The stark fact is that agriculture has turned to be unremunerative for farmers with their landed asset being unviable to bring them adequate income to first meet the life’s needs of their families and then to command enough money-in-hand to continue in their only calling, namely raising crops involving expenses on seed, fertiliser, crop-protection measures, payment of wages to the labour force, marketing their produce, repair as well as replacement of implements, feed for their livestock as well as draft animals and so on. If the urbanites living in reasonably comfortable ambience were to confront the aforementioned contingencies staring at the farming fraternity, there is no telling if they would be as stoic as the rustics.
Thanks to the multitude of factors, including apathy of both stockholders (government) and stakeholders (society) towards the plight of farmers over years, thousands of them have resorted to end their lives leaving their families in dire circumstances. It is overdue that the urban sections share their prosperity with the rustics without waiting for the government to play the role of facilitator. Loan waiver ought to happen but it need not happen often.