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Maharashtra govt won’t get any help from Centre to foot ₹30,000-cr farm loan waiver

Mumbai city news: Union urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu said just like Uttar Pradesh, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, state will have to manage on its own as farmers’ strike enters sixth day

mumbai Updated: Jun 07, 2017 00:20 IST
Faisal Malik
Faisal Malik
Hindustan Times
Mumbai city news,Maharashtra govt,Centre
Vegetable trucks arrive at the AMPC market, Turbhe, on Tuesday. (Bachchan Kumar)

The state government will not get any help from the Centre to shoulder the burden of Rs30,000 crore farm loan waiver assured by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis last week.

Union urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu, who was in the city on Tuesday, ruled out the possibility of financial aid by the Centre to the government. He said the Centre has already informed the chief minister and his colleagues, who had visited Delhi, about the situation.

“States such as Uttar Pradesh, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have announced loan waivers on their own and Maharashtra will have to do the same,” Naidu told mediapersons.

Fadnavis declared loan waiver for small and marginal farmers by October 31 to quell farmers’ agitation, which began on June 1. The CM said the decision is likely to benefit 31 lakh farmers, who were unable to access crop loans for the past four to five years owing to bad loans. The state is likely to spend about Rs30,000 crore or more to write off these loans.

The Centre’s move assumes significance considering the weak finances of the state. Maharashtra has one of the highest debt in the country and is estimated to touch Rs4.13 lakh crore by the next fiscal. This year, the state will spend Rs50,772 crore in just debt servicing — repayment of some of the original loan and its interest. It has also projected borrowings of Rs38,893 crore, figure that is now expected to spiral. The state is likely to cut down on development spending and is also exploring sale of government plots to raise money.

State finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said, “After July 1, once the GST comes in to effect, the state government will have no power to impose any taxes or cess. The only thing we can do is save money wherever possible.”

He, however, added that the state’s financial status was improving with each passing year. “The state tax revenue has risen by 14%. The government is also expecting a rise in its non-tax revenue. We are ready to implement the decision,” Mungantiwar said.

Meanwhile, Fadnavis said they are adopting a system implemented by Andhra Pradesh government to ensure only the needy avail the loan waiver benefit.

“The system ensures only one member from each family avails the waiver, in case there are multiple accounts. It means only the deserving ones will get the benefit,” he said.

The CM also said this would be the biggest loan waiver in the history of Maharashtra.

First Published: Jun 07, 2017 00:03 IST