Former Maharashtra deputy chief minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar on Thursday targeted chief minister Devendra Fadnavis over the failed agriculture policies and the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) warning over the criminal action against the nationalised banks for not granting loans to the farmers.
The state government took criminal action against 24 banks by filing FIRs in various parts of the state for not providing loans to the farmers. Pawar said RBI’s warning from the RBI is a setback for the government which initiated action against the banks.
Expressing concern, RBI deputy governor SS Mundra, in a letter, warned the government to not extend criminal action against the banks. “We think banks have done a good job in agriculture lending in the past few years. If you look at the agriculture lending targets for each year, banks have exceeded targets. The government is not expected to take action against the banks but (steps) should be initiated by the proper channel,” the letter stated.
During the debate on the agrarian crisis in Assembly on Thursday, Pawar said the entire episode was serious. He said the government needs to strengthen its financial mechanism for the lending to farmers. “In most districts, the banks are in very bad shape and not in a position to provide loans to farmers,” he added.
Criticising Fadnavis for his city-centric policies, Pawar said, “I think since he is from a city, he is focussed on policies related to the urban areas.” He questioned why state government cannot bear the cost of the loan waiver when it has made huge provision for LBT and toll exemption.
Pawar said the government should approach Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been announcing financial aid to countries such as Bhutan and Nepal. He also claimed that the government has released only Rs4,000 crore of Rs7,000 crore relief package announced for farmers last year.
The action against bank managers was ordered by the government after a meeting with the state-level bankers committee last month. The government had taken up the issue of non-cooperation from the banks. Districts collectors were directed to initiate criminal action against the banks. The first FIR was lodged against a bank manager in Solapur.