Maharashtra chief minister promises low interest rates on farmer loans
Mumbai city news:Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said loans will be given to farmers at more discounted rates and the government will focus on mechanised farming to increase productivitymumbai Updated: Jul 18, 2017 10:16 IST
After being under fire from the Opposition and farmers’ outfits for handling the agrarian crisis ‘poorly’ and for lacunae in the recently announced loan waiver, the state announced more sops for farmers. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said loans will be given to farmers at more discounted rates and the government will focus on mechanised farming to increase productivity.
The CM also announced larger plans to market farm produce in a more effective manner and deregulate pulses for better procurement prices. Fadnavis made the announcements during his monthly interactive programme Mee Mukhyamantri Boltoy (chief minister speaking) on Marathi TV channels on Sunday.
Elaborating on low-interest loans, the CM said currently farmers in Maharashtra get loans of up to Rs1 lakh at 0% interest and Rs3 lakh at 2% interest. Plans, however, were afoot to reduce the interest rate on loans up to Rs3 lakh, he said. Farmers producing paddy, soyabean, oranges, banana and pomegranate get loans ranging from Rs30,000 to Rs1.2 lakh an acre.
“Farming becomes unviable because in many cases, the minimum support price is lesser than the cost of production. Lesser productivity is the root cause of the problem. Our endeavour is to increase productivity by reducing the cost of production. Mechanisation in agriculture will help increase productivity. With the help of modern agricultural equipments in villages, we can avoid losses and increase productivity. We plan to set up more companies and cluster them to avail the latest technology for mechanised farming,” he said.
Fadnavis said the government has been implementing a scheme in drought-hit districts with the help of World Bank to increase productivity.
The government is also mulling the idea of creating a market chain for the procurement of agricultural produce at higher rates. Besides tweaking the laws, the government has also set up 45 export facility centres and 72 weekly markets for better marketing. It is also considering deregulating pulses so that farmers get the liberty to market their produce directly for a better price, he said.
Appealing the farmers to repay the loans regularly to maintain fiscal discipline in a rural economy, the CM also assured them extra benefits of various government schemes for regular payment of the loan.