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Amitabh Bachchan Urges To Save Farmers By Paying Off Their Loans

"Kaun Banega Crorepati" is aired on Sony Entertainment Television

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Amitabh Bachchan
Amitabh Bachchan. Wikimedia Commons

Moved by the plight of a farmer who made it to the ‘hot seat’ of game show “Kaun Banega Crorepati”, Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan, who is doing his bit to help the farmer community, has urged the public to step forward and help pay off their loans.

A farmer named Anantkumar Khanke made it to the show, and spoke about his struggle to survive. This led Amitabh Bachchan to urge people to come forth and help the farmers in whatever way possible.

Khanke said his annual income is around Rs 60,000 if they face a good rainy season. When there is a shortage of water, he pays Rs 100 per gallon for farming.

Big B, who himself does a lot for the farmers in his own way, narrated an incident which sensitised him to the farmers’ plight, read a statement.

He narrated: “When I was shooting in Visakhapatnam around a decade back, I read in the newspaper then, that farmers are committing suicide for amounts like Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000. I felt very bad reading this. When I came back, I contacted an NGO here and asked them if I could be of any help in saving the lives of farmers and that’s how I got a list of 30-40 people whose loans I could pay off.

Amitabh Bachchan
Save farmers, pay off their loans, urges Big B. Pixabay

“A few years ago, there was distress in Vidarbha due to shortage of rainfall and I cleared loans of around 100 farmers and recently in Maharashtra, I have ensured that the loans of around 360 farmers have been paid off to the banks. My next step is to help clear loans of approximately 850 farmers in Uttar Pradesh.”

He said that by mentioning this, he is hopeful that even if around 10 or 12 people, who find it within their capacity and capability, step forward and help in saving the lives of farmers, they would have “set an example for many more and in turn so many farmers’ lives would be saved”.

“I would urge people to understand the plight of our ‘anna-data’ (farmers) and the kind of hardships they are facing. I do not want to boast about myself but I want everyone to help our farmers who face the shortage of even having basic necessities.

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“If anyone of you, individually or collectively can pay off their loans, I join my hands to request you to please help them. This will be the biggest contribution you can make to the farmers of our country.”

“Kaun Banega Crorepati” is aired on Sony Entertainment Television. (IANS)

Next Story

Farm Equipment Manufacturers Across U.S. Worry About Tariffs on Aluminum and Steel

“We’re not really that big, so we can say that this impact has been a seven-figure impact for us in the last year, and that’s a substantial amount of money.”

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Workers ride through an aluminum ingots depot in Wuxi, Jiangsu province, China, Sept. 26, 2012. President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on aluminum and steel in March of 2018, with the goal of boosting U.S. production. VOA

Their iconic blue-colored planters and grain cars are recognizable on many farms across the United States. They are also easily spotted in large displays, some stacked one on top of the other, in front of Kinze’s manufacturing hub along Interstate 80, where, inside buildings sprawling across a campus situated among Iowa’s corn and soybeans fields, the company’s employees work with one key component.

“Steel is the lifeblood of Kinze,” says Richard Dix, a company senior director. “We’re a factory that’s essentially a weld house. We cut, burn, form, shape, cut, paint steel.”

Steel now costs more, the result of a 25 percent tariff on the material imported from most countries, including China.

“When there is a tariff on steel it cuts rights to the core of our fundamental product construction,” says Dix.

In March of 2018, President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on aluminum and steel, with the goal of boosting U.S. production and related employment.

While there has been a modest benefit to the domestic steel industry, Dix says increased costs are negatively impacting smaller manufacturing companies like Kinze.

“We see the bills that come in from our suppliers are higher based on those tariffs,” Dix explains. “Not just in steel but also in a lot of the electronics, rubber commodities and other agricultural parts we buy from China as well. Those tariffs take their effect on our cost structure, on the profitability for the family, through our employees, and now to our dealers and on to our customers.”

Those customers are mostly U.S. farmers who use some of Kinze’s products to put soybean and corn seeds into the ground. Soybean exports in particular are now subject to retaliatory tariffs imposed by the Chinese, one of the biggest export markets for U.S. farmers, which has sunk commodity prices and contributed to another year of overall declining income for U.S. farmers.

FILE - farmer Michael Petefish walks through his soybeans at his farm near Claremont in southern Minnesota.
farmer Michael Petefish walks through his soybeans at his farm near Claremont in southern Minnesota. VOA

​That means many are less likely to purchase the products Kinze makes.

“The market is substantially down,” says Dix. “The farmers don’t have that level of security they need to go out into the dealerships and buy that equipment. We get a one-two punch. We pay more for the product that comes into us and therefore on to the customer, and then we have a reciprocal situation where we can’t export what was advantageous to us.”

These are some of the concerns Dix explained to Iowa Republican Senator Joni Ernst, who participated in a roundtable discussion at Kinze along with farmers and others in Iowa impacted by tariffs. It was part of a “Tariffs Hurt the Heartland” event hosted by Kinze, and organized by the group Americans for Free Trade along with the Association of Equipment Manufacturers.

Ernst says the personal stories she gathers from these meetings go a long way in helping President Donald Trump understand the impact on her constituents.

“He has a very different negotiating style,” she told VOA. “He wants to start with the worst possible scenario, and negotiate his way to a good and fair trade deal, but again sharing those stories is very important and yes it does have an impact. I think the president does listen.”

Ernst says she is encouraged by news from the Trump administration on developments in negotiations that lead her to believe the trade dispute with China, and the related tariffs, could end soon.

“When I last spoke to [U.S. Trade Representative] Robert Lighthizer, he had indicated that the deal with China is largely done, it’s just figuring out the enforcement mechanism, and that is what the United States and China are really bartering over right now.”

But Kinze’s Richard Dix says one year under tariffs has already taken a toll on the company’s operations.

“We’re not really that big, so we can say that this impact has been a seven-figure impact for us in the last year, and that’s a substantial amount of money.”

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It’s an amount that Dix says, so far, hasn’t been passed on to Kinze’s customers, or the employees.

“We have not actually had any direct layoffs that are attributable to this tariff situation, but we’re all tightening our belts.” (VOA)