Congress waived loans of 39% farmers ineligible for benefits, says Maharashtra CM

He claimed that his government has been careful in ensuring that the mistakes committed by the previous government in 2008 would not be repeated.

mumbai Updated: Dec 15, 2017 00:25 IST
Surendra P Gangan
Surendra P Gangan
Hindustan Times
mumbai,politics,devendra fadnavis
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis addressed the legislative assembly on Thursday. (HT File Photo)

Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, in a bid to retaliate to the attacks by the opposition, claimed on Thursday that of the loan waiver granted by the previous government in 2008-09, 39.43% was extended to ineligible beneficiaries. He alleged that politicians and their relatives had been the ones to benefit most from the previous loan waiver.

“The Maharashtra government implemented a loan waiver of Rs10,000 crore, including Rs6,000 crore released by the Centre, in 2008-09. About 39.43% of the amount or Rs4,000 crore has gone into the wrong hands. 13.5% of eligible farmers were not able to avail the benefits, while 3.51% did not submit their documents during Congress rule,” Fadnavis said in the legislative assembly on Thursday, while responding to the debate around the agrarian crisis, initiated by the treasure benches.

“The Comptroller and Auditor General had passed strictures on these irregularities.”

Reading out the names of the officer bearers of the district central cooperative banks or the credit societies, he said that some of the individual beneficiaries, holding key positions in local level financial institutions, had received a huge amount ranging from Rs9 lakh to Rs38 lakh. Without naming the MLA in question, he alleged that as many as 8 members from his family had received the benefits of the waiver.

He further claimed that his government has been careful in ensuring that the mistakes committed in 2008 would not be repeated.

“The delay in the disbursement of the waiver announced by us was primarily due to the fact that we required time to verify the applicants’ details,” he said. “The opposition has been targeting us for reducing the number of beneficiaries of the waiver from the preliminary estimate of 89 lakh farmers. While it is true that the number of actual
beneficiaries has dropped, it is only due to the fact that the banks had provided inflated figures of the pending loans and names of the account holders. One
nationalised bank had given the names of 6.5 lakh account holders, while the actual figure was 1.29 lakh.”

According to Fadnavis, the loan waiver given by the Congress-led government was so full of flaws that six suicide-hit districts in Vidarbha received only Rs287 crore. Under the Fadnavis administration, the 11 districts of Vidarbha collectively received Rs5,754 crore and Marathwada received Rs6,000 crore, as opposed to the Rs1,500 crore and Rs1,700 crore received by them respectively, in 2008-09.

He added that the state government has released Rs20,734 crore to the banks to be credited to the accounts of 43.17 lakh farmers with the verified data. He said that out of the 77 lakh applications they received, 69 lakh were found eligible, after eliminating the applications by income tax payers, relatives of elected representatives, and government employees.

The opposition staged a walk out in the assembly, stating that the government has disappointed farmers who were expecting the announcement of a compensation, including cotton farmers who were affected by a pest infestation.

First Published: Dec 15, 2017 00:25 IST