New Delhi: Farm loan waivers are hardly the solution to the problems faced by the agricultural class, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his interview with ANI on Tuesday.

The UPA government should have implemented the recommendations of the MS Swaminathan Commission's report, which would have uplifted the farmers from annual distress. Modi said that his government was committed to increasing the income of the farmers. An important step in that direction was, he said, the NDA government's decision to sanction the minimum support price (MSP) for several crops that Swaminathan had recommended. 

Alleging that the Congress had cheated the farmers in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh by not benefitting all the cultivators with loan waivers, the Prime Minister added that the farmers would have long emerged from the vicious cycle of seeking loans and then turning defaulters if waivers had been a solution.

The Prime Minister said that the waivers fail to benefit most farmers because most of them do not borrow from banks, which are subjected to the waivers. They, he said, borrow mostly from unregulated moneylenders based in villages.

Modi spoke of a host of schemes of his government that have benefited the farmers such as the soil health card that saves the agriculturist's wasteful investment on unnecessary fertilisers. The Prime Minister spoke also of the massive government investment in irrigation, which has made water accessible to many farmers in a cost-effective manner.

When asked why farmers were dying while big economic offenders had fled to other countries, Modi said every fugitive would be dragged back to the country following internationally accepted, legal procedures (more details in another report).