MUMBAI: A day after two farmers died in police action while waiting to submit applications for the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (crop insurance scheme), chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, on Monday, said that he would urge the union government to extend the deadline for the same.
The chief minister was replying to the issue raised by the leader of opposition, Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, through an adjournment motion after two farmers from Nanded district, died on Sunday. The two farmers were caned by the police when the mob waiting outside the bank for getting registered for the scheme went unruly.
Vikhe-Patil said, “Farmers who want to file application to get benefit of the loan waiver scheme have been waiting outside banks for days as there is a lack of good internet connectivity."
Ajit Pawar, NCP leader, linked the issue with demonetisation. “PM Modi had assured that the queue for getting currency notes changed would be the last queue. Then why are the farmers being caned now?” he asked.
Opposition members also said that the banks were trying to link the PMFBY applications with the crop loans and thereby trying to avoid the farmers.
The issue was also raised in the legislative council where agriculture minister Pandurang Fundkar said that the state government has written to the Centre to extend the deadline for farmers to apply for PMFBY till August 15. Fundkar said that government issued an order on June 20 directing all banks to cooperate in the implementation of the central scheme, however, some nationalised banks were found to be not cooperating and a probe against such banks should be ordered.
Opposition leader Dhananjay Munde in the Legislative Council argued that if the July 31, deadline was not extended then one crore farmers would be denied the scheme's benefits. Munde said, “There is scanty rainfall so far in Vidharbha and Marathwada regions and the farmers are in dire need of crop insurance. Due to the government's insistence on filling Online forms, large number of farmers are waiting in long queues waiting to fill the forms. Not more than few hundred of forms can be filled in a day and hence will result in large number of farmers being denied the PMFBY benefits.”