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State begins process to waive loans of 65 lakh Maha farmers

10 lakh farmers will benefit in first phase; 80% will get amount credited to their accounts by Nov 15, says CM Devendra Fadnavis at a function in Mumbai

mumbai Updated: Oct 18, 2017 23:37 IST
Swapnil Rawal
Swapnil Rawal
Hindustan Times
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis handed over certificates of clearance of loan accounts to 100 farmers from across the state on Wednesday at a function in Mumbai. (Kunal Patil/HT)

Four months after announcing the loan waiver, the state on Wednesday started the disbursal process to write off loans of about 65 lakh farmers. In this first phase, the state has covered 8.4 lakh farmers and cleared loans worth Rs4,000 crore.

“Today, we have released Rs4,000 crore, of which Rs3,200 crore will be used to write off loans of 4.62 lakh farmers. The remaining Rs800 crore will be in the form of incentive for 3.78 lakh farmers who are paying their loans on time,” Fadnavis said. The state has set a target of completing 80% of the loan waivers by November 15. When the waiver was announced on June 24, the state had estimated the number of beneficiaries would be 89 lakh and the waiver package was pegged at Rs34,022 crore.

However, the total number of farmers eligible for the waiver is likely to be between 62 lakh and 65 lakh and the waiver amount is likely to be between Rs22,000 crore and Rs25,000 crore.

Explaining the waiver process, Fadnavis said the banks have been given the list of beneficiaries. “From a single bank account, money will be transferred to banks and they will be asked to deposit the money in farmers’ accounts as per the list. The process will be regularised from Monday once the holiday season ends,” he said.

Fadnavis, along with state finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, state revenue minister Chandrakant Patil, cooperatives minister Subhash Deshmukh and transport minister Diwakar Raote handed over certificates of loan waiver to farmers, who had come from Amravati, Akola, Kolhapur and Sindhudurg districts.

However, BJP’s ally, Shiv Sena, and Opposition, the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), continue to criticise the loan waiver. Although Sena leader Raote congratulated Fadnavis for implementing the loan waiver, he said his party wants the government to widen the scope of the waiver. “If one is content, then there is no development. I congratulate the CM, but we would like the government to extend the cut-off date of repayment of the loans to June 30, 2017 from the current June 2016,” Raote said.

NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said the government is just using the loan waiver as a publicity tool. “They had announced that loan of 89 lakh farmers would be waived off, but now the figure is around 60 lakh. They have put so many conditions, they many farmers are left out. Calling it the biggest loan waiver is a publicity gimmick,” Malik said.

The chief minister reiterated the loan waiver is not the only solution to the problems faced by the farmers in the state. He said continuous investment in the agriculture sector for the next five years is crucial. According to Fadnavis, the investment in the agriculture sector had increased from Rs21,000 crore to Rs63,000 crore now. He added that ‘Jal Yukt Shivar’ has made a substantial contribution in ensuring a growth rate of up to 12% in the agriculture sector.

Fadnavis said the aim of the government by implementing the loan waiver is to get the farmers back into the institutional credit system. “Our task has been to get farmers, who had gone out of the institutional credit system, back into the system so that they can get more loans, repay the loan successfully and earn money,” he said.

First Published: Oct 18, 2017 16:12 IST