Farmers’ outfits unhappy with revised norms for loan waiver, to take a final call after July 25

Mumbai city news: Farmers have demanded a new set of norms for the final loan waiver.

mumbai Updated: Jun 21, 2017 17:31 IST
Faisal Malik
Faisal Malik
Hindustan Times
Mumbai city news,farmers' strike,Maharashtra farmers' strike
(HT File)

Not convinced with the revised norms issued by the Maharashtra government for loan waivers, farmers’ outfits continue to oppose the cap of Rs1 lakh proposed by the state government. They have also demanded a new set of norms for the final loan waiver. For now, they have decided to wait till the July 25 deadline for the government to meet all the demands they put up.

However, as part of a flash protest to be held today, the farmers have been asked to burn copies of the government order about the interim loans of Rs10,000 outside every gram panchayat and tehsildar office on Wednesday.

“The government appears to be confused over the norms and parameters to be set for the loan waiver. It issued two government resolutions (GR) in a span of an hour yesterday. The first one was with a limit of Rs5 lakh of annual income for government employees, and another with the limit of Rs 4 lakh. We continue to differ on certain norms, as it will prove to be unbeneficial for farmers who continue to hold joint agriculture accounts, even though they live in nuclear families,” said Ajit Nawale, convenor of the steering committee of the farmers’ outfit deliberating with the government.

Read: Maharashtra relaxes eligibility rules for interim loans after farmers’ groups step up pressure

Nawale said that they continue to oppose the upper limit of Rs1 lakh for the waiver. “The government has assured complete loan waiver, and it cannot retract now by putting such a cap. It should also lift the cut off date of June 30, 2016 and bring all the farmers in the ambit of the waiver. The government has been saying that these norms will also be applicable while giving out the final waiver. We are against it, as the final parameters should be decided by a joint committee of government officials and our representatives,” he said.

When the government declared the farm loan waiver, it decided to put a cap of Rs 1lakh for each farmer. This is apart from the list of norms imposed as ‘eligibility criteria’ for the farmers to get waiver benefits. Following strong opposition by the farmers’ representatives, the state government on Tuesday relaxed some of them, so that more farmers can benefit from the waiver. However, it has refused to accept major demands - waiving off the entire loan amount of all farmers, and extending cut-off date till this year.

Raju Shetti, chief of Swabhimani Paksha said they have already conveyed their disapproval of the conditions to the government. “We want loans to be waived off in full, and that too till this year,” Shetti said, adding that the norms imposed by the government are unjust and will deprive lakhs of deserving farmers from its benefits.

Read: Maharashtra govt announces loan waiver to farmers, agitation called off

When asked about the relaxing of norms, he said, “Let the government do whatever it wants. We as farmers’ leaders have decided to wait for now. We are also ready to discuss the issues again and again with the government. But if our demands are not met by July 25, we have decided to resume our agitation with more intensity.” Shetti told HT.

It is not clear if the government will hold further discussions with the steering committee to decide modalities of the final loan waiver. Revenue minister Chandrakant Patil said on Tuesday that they will hold not meetings with the committee, and will continue talking to individual organisations. However, he said that they are open to discussions with the government.

The government issued a revised GR on Tuesday evening, that made government employees, contractors, teachers-professors, income tax payers, doctors, lawyers and other professionals with the annual income of less than Rs4 lakh and the owner of any four wheelers eligible for the interim waiver of Rs 10,000.

Read: Maharashtra CM says all farmer loans can’t be forgiven

However, farmers’ leaders have decided to continue their protest on June 21 by burning copies of the government order for interim loan of Rs 10,000, which also comprises the list of norms need to be fulfilled by the farmers for taking waiver benefits.

Nawale said the conditions imposed will deprive a lrage number of farmers from taking waiver benefits, which is not acceptable. “We will burn the copies of GR outside offices of gram panchayat and tehsildar across the state,” he said.

Read: Maharashtra farmers oppose new norms imposed by government for interim loans

First Published: Jun 21, 2017 14:53 IST