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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

Maharashtra government to see political and farmer agitations on third anniversary

The Congress, the NCP and farmers’ organisations are all planning separate stirs between Oct 31 and November 8, the day demonetisation was announced last year.

mumbai Updated: Oct 30, 2017 13:00 IST
Faisal Malik
Faisal Malik
Hindustan Times
The BJP-led government, headed by CM Devendra Fadnavis, completes three years in office on October 31, 2017.
The BJP-led government, headed by CM Devendra Fadnavis, completes three years in office on October 31, 2017.(HT File)

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Maharashtra government, headed by Devendra Fadnavis, will see multiple agitations as it gears up to celebrate three years in office. Both the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have announced separate stirs, while the steering committee of farmers’ organisations plan to meet in Mumbai on October 31 to decide how to continue their protest against the government.

Farmers’ organisations in the state have been demanding a blanket loan waiver and for the implementation of recommendations made by the Swaminathan Commission, which suggests that the minimum support price for agricultural produce should be double the input cost.

“We are not happy with whatever is going on over loan waiver. Right from the beginning, we have been demanding a blanket loan waiver for farmers, which the government has ignored. We had opposed the plan to seek online applications from farmers for the waiver, and now see the mess,” said Ajit Nawale, coordinator of the steering committee of farmers’ outfits. “To continue our agitation, we will meet in Mumbai on October 31.”

Farmers’ issues made it to the spotlight in Maharashtra, especially politically, following their strike this June, and then Fadnavis’ announcement of a Rs 34,022-crore loan waiver package. However, the government has imposed a waiver cap of Rs 1.5 lakh for each farmer family, as well as several other conditions such as the requirement to meet the eligibility criteria for claiming benefits.

Farmers’ organisations are opposing these conditions as the total number of farmers eligible for the waiver is likely to come down to between 62 lakh and 65 lakh from the estimated 89 lakh, and the waiver amount is likely to reduce to Rs25,000 crore from Rs 34,022 crore.

Further, adopting a strict verification process, the government has asked banks to provide farmers’ loan account information, but that has hit a huge roadblock as the data provided by banks is full of errors, which has delayed the actual waiver disbursal. This has also created further discontent among the state’s farmers.

On Tuesday, the day Fadnavis completes three years in office, major Opposition parties — the Congress and the NCP — are planning independent agitations against the Fadnavis government. The Congress will launch a state-wide agitation called Jan Aakrosh Andolan from Ahmednagar district, as well as observe a ‘Black Day’ on November 8, the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced demonetisation last year.

The NCP has declared an eight-day stir against the state government, starting November 1. Maharashtra NCP chief Sunil Tatkare said protest would be held in districts and tehsils across the state and will end on November 8.

First Published: Oct 30, 2017 13:00 IST