Weeks before Gujarat heads to the polls, the state government has announced “zero-interest” crop loans up to Rs 3 lakh for farmers. The move, announced by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani at a meeting of Bharatiya Janata Party workers in Bhat on Monday, is likely to benefit over 25 lakh farmers, reported The Times of India.

Earlier, Rupani said farmers in the state used to get a Rs 3-lakh loan at an interest rate of 7%. Of this, the farmer had to pay only 1% as interest cost, while 3% was paid by the Centre and the remaining 3% by the state government. “From now on, this one per cent interest rate too will be borne by the state government. Farmers will not have to pay any interest,” Rupani was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.

The move is expected to cost the state exchequer an extra Rs 700 crore.

Later on Monday, BJP president Amit Shah criticised the Congress, saying that farmers in Gujarat were paying 16% interest on farm loans when the Congress was in power.

Earlier in the year, several states including Uttar Pradesh had waived farm loans. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said states writing off these loans would have to generate funds for it themselves, and that the central government would not assist them.