Fulfilling a crucial election promise, the Uttar Pradesh government decided to waive off farm loans of upto Rs 1 lakh, in Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s first Cabinet meeting on Tuesday. The move is likely to benefit more than 2.25 crore farmers in the state, and is likely to cost the state exchequer Rs 30,729 crore.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in BJP’s election campaign, promised a loan waiver for farmers. This was aimed at the small and marginalised farmers, who account for 2.15 crore of the 2.30 crore farmers in the state.

Farmers in the state were unable to repay loans worth around Rs 62,000 crore after natural calamities had lead to severe crop loss.

The government will also be introducing a Kisan Rahat Bond to raise money for the farm loan waivers.

The meeting was held two weeks after Yogi Adityanath took charge as the Chief Minister of the state. The opposition had cried foul of the delay in the Cabinet meet, to which the ruling party had replied that it did not want to make any decisions, related to the loan waiver in a hurry, and needed some more time to deliberate the decision.

There have been discussions in the other states too, of similar loan waivers. While, Punjab has opted for a waiver despite poor fiscal health, Maharashtra government has not opted for it even after state wide protests from the oppostition parties.

Apart from loan waivers, the Cabinet also decided to write off around Rs 5,630 crore of NPAs of 7 lakh farmers in the state.

UP Minister Swatantradrev Singh told the media to expect more big surprises from the subsequent Cabinet meetings and that Yogi Adityanath will be taking more big decisions on the welfare of the people.

Plans were also made, to set up 5,000 wheat buying centres, which will be personally monitored by the CM. Here, farmers will get Rs 10 more than the minimum support price per quintal. In the first stage of the programme, 40 lakh metric tonne of wheat will be purchased from farmers.

The Cabinet is also looking to set up a new industrial policy, which would dissuade the youth of Uttar Pradesh from migrating to other states by setting up new industries. Yogi Adityanath will also form a new committee that will visit several states to understand the industrial policies in the other regions. The committee will firstly be visiting Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Following a Supreme Court and National Green Tribunal directive, the Cabinet will clamp down on illegal slaughterhouses. The state has already shut 26 slaughter houses across the state after BJP came to power. The government is also looking at illegal mining.

In the meeting, the Cabinet also approved an anti-Romeo squad. This squad is going to target men (or Romeos) who harass women. Although, this would not mean the squad would disturb any couple sitting together in public.

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