MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government on Saturday unveiled a Rs 34,020 crore farm loan waiver scheme, under which debt of up to Rs 1.5 lakh each will be written off.
The loan waiver scheme would benefit 89 Lakh out of 1.31 crore farmers in the state, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said. 31 lakh farmers in the state had pending loans against their name since 2012-13 and they were feared to slip out of the credit net.
The government has decided to waive off loans given between the period of April 1, 2012 and June 30, 2016. This will benefit 40 lakh farmers, Fadnavis said. The decision will reflect upon the 7/12 land extract of almost 90% farmers with tired loans, he added.
The loan waiver scheme has been named as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Krishi Sanman Yojana.
Per capita crop loan in Maharashtra is the lowest in the country, yet the state has offered the highest package. This too is historic, the chief minister said.
Present and past ministers, MLAs, government officers, taxpayers and traders who are eligible for VAT have been excluded from the loan waiver scheme. Moreover, those farmers with more than 1.5 lakh of loans would be able to avail one-time settlement for their tired loans of which a part of Rs 1.5 lakh or 25 per cent whichever is small would be borne by the government under the loan waiver package.
Agriculturist Vijay Jawanghia opined that had the waiver been up to Rs 2 lakh it would have benefitted more cotton farmers in Vidarbha region. While, farmer leader Raghunath Patil termed the package as an attempt to create a divide between the farmers. “All the statistics given by the CM is fake. The waiver would not benefit farmers with bigger crop loans at all,” he said and added that the steering committee of farmers’ agitation has rejected the loan waiver.
Raju Shetti of Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, who was also part of the steering committee of farmers’ agitation, said that the government was expected to announce blanket loan waiver for all farmers. Though we have always professed the stand that rich farmers should be excluded from loan waiver, the current conditions don’t give any relief to grape and pomegranate farmers who have to face the wrath of nature.
The waiver scheme has also ignored small farmers who had taken huge loans for shed net and poly net, Shetti said.