PM must intervene in Maharashtra’s farm credit crisis: Chief of task force formed to tackle agrarian crisisUpdated: Jul 11, 2020 00:46 IST
Alleging apathy on the part of nationalised and commercial banks towards farmers, state’s task force for tackling the agrarian crisis, Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swavlamban Mission (VNSSM), appealed to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene in the matter and resolve the “credit crisis” in the state.
VNSSM chief and farm activist, Kishor Tiwari, who is aligned with the Shiv Sena, said that a majority of public sector banks are yet to start the disbursal of fresh crop loans or restructure pending crop loans as per the orders of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). He added this is more pronounced in the drought-prone districts of Vidarbha and Marathwada, and will lead to farmers’ suicides. Tiwari pointed out that state data revealed that around five farmers commit suicide every day in Maharashtra
Tiwari pointed out that as on Thursday, nationalised banks disbursed less than 10% of their credit target to state farmers in Vidarbha and Marathwada. “Despite the chief minister stressing on providing bank finance to all farmers, public sector and commercial banks are not disbursing credit to them. PM must empower chief minister Uddhav Thackeray as the chairman of the State Level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC) to address the credit crisis as it is the only body that can evolve consensus to resolve the issue,’’ said Tiwari. He added that CM must be empowered to take criminal action against bank officials who are not responding to the state’s directives to disburse the loans. He also said that banks should not subtract crop insurance payments directly from the loan amount and must offer credit to around 11 lakh farm accounts.
“The problem is severe, as owing to the Covid-19 outbreak, the farmers’ access to banks has been virtually cut off. Banks are refusing to give credit to around 11 lakh farmers, whose loan waivers are pending due to Covid-19 outbreak, despite the CM’s directives and the state’s guarantee. The situation will first push 80% of farmers to private moneylenders and then to the step of ending their lives,’’ added Tiwari.
The crop loan target set by SLBC for 2020-21 is ₹62,458 crore, of which 70% credit is to be given by nationalised banks, while the remaining by district co-operative banks. The co-operative banks disbursed 69% of their target, but the commercial banks disbursed only 15%, said a senior co-operative department official.