MUMBAI: Stung by Congress' criticism, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis blamed glitches in data collection by banks for the delay in disbursement of loan waiver monies to farmers. He said the glitches have now been rectified and farmers will start getting the money.
"Our decision to digitize the whole process has proved to be wise. The state-level bankers committee (SLBC) had given us a figure of 89 lakh accounts based on which we designed a loan waiver scheme of Rs 34,000 crore. However, after we invited online data, they revised the figure down by 13 lakh. Union Bank of India had initially given us a figure of 6.48 lakh accounts. However, their final list had only 1.34 lakh accounts," Fadnavis told New Indian Express in an interview ahead of his completion of three years in office.
"We had prepared a form that had 66 columns. The banks were required to extract data from their systems and fill out this form. However, there were some discrepancies in doing this. Some of the banks tried to do it manually. That led to errors. We discovered errors in the Aadhaar numbers right in the beginning. Almost one lakh accounts had one single Aadhaar number. Then we realised that in some cases the account names were different. We stopped the process and started an inquiry and asked the banks to clean up the data," Fadnavis said.
"Authentic data has now started coming in. Yesterday we disbursed money to 2.40 lakh farmers," he added.
Fadnavis also said that there were a some errors on the part of the government too which created an impression that the whole loan waiver exercise was turning out to be a failure. But it is indeed a success, he said.
"When we said we will do it digitally, we were criticized. Questions were raised such as the availability of electricity. However, over one crore farmers submitted their biometric data in a span of 45 days to complete the process. We now have these many account holders with Aadhaar seeding done for their bank accounts. This is a major achievement from the point of view of the digital penetration," he said
The chief minister said that by November 25 the state hopes to wrap up 70-80 per cent of the loan waiver disbursals and address the problematic accounts later. The state government has already released Rs 4,000 crore for the first phase of the loan waiver, but so far data of only 28 lakh beneficiaries have been uploaded.