Maharashtra CM says all farmer loans can’t be forgiven

Mumbai city news: Farmers in Maharashtra protest, throw vegetables, spill milk on roads to step up pressure on government for loan waivers; CM Devendra Fadnavis says Oppn using issue for political gains

mumbai Updated: Jun 10, 2017 14:21 IST
Faisal Malik
Faisal Malik
Hindustan Times
Mumbai city news,Farmers strike,Maharashtra
Farmers in Aurangabad’s Gangapur pour milk on the roads to protest the Maharashtra government’s inaction on a loan waiver.(HT photo)

As the state’s farmers took to the streets, demanding relief from the debts they are drowning in, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis chose to hit out at the Opposition, saying it was fanning the issue for political gains.

The CM did address the farmers’ loan waiver demand, but said the state can only afford to waive of some of their loans.

Fadnavis said the government can waive the loans of the 31 lakh farmers who were edged out of the institutional credit system as they had not repaid loans. But, Maharashtra has 1.34 crore farmers, and a decision that favours only a few of them is unlikely to go down well.

“It is not possible for the state to waive loans, in full, of all 1.34 crore farmers. For that, the government will have to shell out Rs1.34 lakh crore, and this is more than the capital expenditure of the state. But, we are considering waiving loans of 31 lakh farmers who have gone out of the institutional credit system because of their unpaid loans. This comes to around Rs30,000 crore and we will spend that money to bring them back into the credit system,” Fadnavis said.

The CM, however, did not clarify when the government would announce this waiver and whether the loans will be waived fully or partially. “We will take the decision at the appropriate time. The government is still considering the formula ,” Fadnavis said.

Fadnavis pointed out how, even in Uttar Pradesh, only 70 lakh farmers, of the 2.5 crore, were getting the benefits of the loan waiver. He said during the UPA rule, the state got only Rs7,000 crore for loan waiver.

Fadnavis said his government was ready to talk to the agitating farmers and asked them to withdraw their strike. He blamed his political opponents for the stray cases of violence across the state on Thursday. Fadnavis said farmers were being held to ransom by a few political parties who were using the loan waiver issue. “Those who have failed to get support during the Sangharsh Yatra are the ones behind the violence during the strike. I am sure farmers will not take law and order into their hands. Through these means, they (opposition parties) are trying to make the situation worse,” Fadnavis said.

He said there is no shortage of essential commodities such as milk and vegetables. “I am sure the government will resolve the issue. Our agricultural minister Pandurang Fundkar and minister of state Sadabhau Khot are speaking with farmers. The farmers need to think in whose interest they are fighting, as ultimately they are being affected the most in this,” Fadnavis said.

First Published: Jun 02, 2017 00:58 IST