MUMBAI: Waiving off loans of farmers affected by natural calamities such as drought is not a "permanent" solution to the agrarian crisis, Maharashtra Agriculture minister Eknath Khadse said today.
"(The then union agriculture minister) Sharad Pawar implemented a loan waiver scheme during his tenure... has it helped mitigate problems of the farmers?" Khadse said while replying to questions on Pawar's recent meeting with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to demand a fresh loan waiver for the distressed farmers in the state.
"The previous government waived loans...but it hasn't helped. We are looking for permanent solution to the agrarian crisis. Besides, our government has already announced waiver of interest for the first year on loans taken during coming kharif season. It is as good as a loan waiver," Khadse told reporters here.
The senior minister said the state government will implement the Centre's scheme of 50 per cent subsidies for horticulture. "We are studying the scheme for implementing it in the state," he said.
Cashew producers in Konkan region had suffered losses over 23,000 hectares of cultivation while mango growers had suffered losses over 42,000 hectares due to the unseasonal rains, he said, adding, the government had sanctioned Rs 166 crore as ex-gratia for them.
A pilot project of cloud seeding would be undertaken in the parched areas of Vidarbha, Marathwada and north Maharashtra at the end of June, which would cost about Rs 10 crore, he said.