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Maharashtra government to waive loans of 10 lakh more farmers

Now, the loans of up to 46 lakh farmers will be waived. This will also put an additional burden of up to Rs8,000 crore on the exchequer

mumbai Updated: Jul 28, 2017 15:18 IST
Surendra P Gangan
Surendra P Gangan
Hindustan Times
Devendra Fadnavis,Maharashtra,loan waiver
Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and rural development minister Pankaja Munde arrive at Vidhan Bhavan on Day 4 of the monsoon session on Thursday.(Kunal Patil/HT Photo)

Widening the scope of the farm loan waiver, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday said that the package would benefit about 10 lakh more farmers whose loans banks had restructured. Now, the loans of up to 46 lakh farmers will be waived. This will also put an additional burden of up to Rs8,000 crore on the exchequer.

After days of protests last month, the government announced a loan waiver of Rs34,022 crore.

A major chunk of the farmers whose outstanding loans were restructured in 2014-15 and 2015-16 owing to drought were left out. However, they were eligible for Rs15,000 and Rs25,000 in incentives because they paid their loans regularly.

“The outstanding amount of the farmers who got their loans restructured in 2014-15 and 2015-16 is Rs3,500 crore and Rs5,200 crore,” said an official from the cooperation department.

In a reply to both the houses of the state legislature, Fadnavis said that the government would ensure that the package was not misused by ineligible people. He also refused to concede to the opposition’s demand to extend the cut off date to June 30, 2017 from June 30, 2016. He argued that this would set a bad precedent and was against the norms of the Reserve Bank of India.

Fadnavis also attacked the opposition for alleged anomalies in the 2008-09 loan waiver package. He said at the time farmers in five-suicide prone districts in Vidarbha were given Rs286 crore, while farmers in Mumbai got Rs208 crore.

“There were beneficiaries from Mumbai who were not even farmers. They used this amount for commercial and construction works. A major chunk of waiver went to ghost accounts. Some of the banks even had revived their dormant accounts to reap the benefits. To avoid a repeat, we have asked farmers to fill up forms,” he said.

The chief minister said that the government would scrutinise the list of more than 600 people from Mumbai, who had applied for the loan waiver. He also ridiculed the Congress and the NCP for their claim that the loan waiver was the result of their Sangharsh Yatra in April and May. He said that the protest march was a dud.

In the legislative council too, Fadnavis said the erstwhile Congress-NCP government took 12 months and 15 months to disburse loan packages in 2008 and 2009 . “The forms will be collected in a month. In August, we will scrutinise them and in September we will complete the first lot of the loan waiver,” he said.

First Published: Jul 28, 2017 15:17 IST