Months ahead of the assembly polls and hours ahead of the Chief Election Commission's announcement of the election dates in the poll bounding states, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami has on Friday unveiled a pack of loan waivers with the view of the elections to yield votes. A slew of waivers has been seen as the Chief Minister's bid to form the ADMK government for the third consecutive time.
While addressing the ongoing assembly session on Friday that was convened for the interim budget, Edappadi Palaniswami has announced that loans obtained by the women self-help groups from the co-operative banks and societies across the state will be waived off. In what has become a crucial announcement, the Chief Minister said that there are over 1 lakh women self-help groups in the state, and these groups contained over 15 lakh women as their members. Most of these women are living under the poverty line and they have been acquiring loans from co-operative banks and societies for their livelihood and to carry out small-scale businesses.
He stated that the self-help groups had demanded the government to waive off the loans by citing that they are not in the state to pay back the loans due to the COVID-19 lockdown. Edappadi Palanswami further said, "Considering their demand, I am happy to announce to the assembly that the loans bought by the self-help groups from the co-operative banks and societies will be waived off".
Along with waiving off the loans of self-help groups, the Chief Minister had unveiled another major announcement in the assembly- waiving of jewel loans. Edappadi Palaniswami announced that the jewelry loans up to six sovereigns obtained through co-operative banks will be waived off. He said, "Though COVID-19 cases have come down, the economic situation had not eased. Public and farmers who have obtained a loan by pledging jewels are not able to pay the loan back and considering their difficulties, state jewel loan obtained in co-operative banks up to 6 sovereigns will be waived off".
The Chief Minister has announced the loan waivers under Rule 110 of the Tamil Nadu Assembly Rules. According to reports, the Chief Minister's announcement of loan waivers has come hours ahead of the Election Commission's announcement of dates for the legislative elections. The Election Commission will be addressing the media on Friday at around 4.30 pm and will unveil the election dates for the five poll-bound states - Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal, Assam, and Puducherry.
The recent announcements of loan waivers have come in line with the previous announcements. It must be noted that the Chief Minister had earlier announced a crop loan waiver of Rs 12,110 crore. In his bid to cover farmers through his drive of loan waivers, Edappadi Palaniswami said that the crop loans acquired from the state-owned cooperative banks and societies across the state will be waived off completely.
As the sequel of waiving off the farm loans, the Chief Minister was surfaced with the demands of waiving off the jewel loans and loans of women self-help groups. Following the demand, the Chief Minister has on Friday announced the waivers which had also become one of the talking points for the ruling ADMK in the campaign trail. It has been expected that Tamil Nadu will go for the polls by the last week of April.
As the government can't announce any people welfare schemes after the announcement of the election date under the grounds of election rules, the Chief Minister has been finding prospects through the assembly session to cover more people by unveiling schemes and loan waivers. Earlier, the Chief Minister provided Rs 2,500 for each rice ration card for Pongal across the state, he also had withdrawn petty cases filed across the state and announced major loan waivers to reach farmers and women.