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Saturday, Sep 21, 2019

Maharashtra loan waiver: 12 lakh rich farmers excluded from benefit owing to norms

Against 89 lakh farm loan accounts with various banks, the government has received 77.26 lakh applications from 56.59 lakh families for the waiver

mumbai Updated: Sep 27, 2017 00:27 IST
Surendra P Gangan  and Faisal Malik
Surendra P Gangan and Faisal Malik
Hindustan Times

Following the parameters set by the government for the loan waiver, around 12 lakh well-off farmers have been left out of the benefit net, data submitted by financial institutions to the government has showed. Against 89 lakh farm loan accounts with various banks, the government has received 77.26 lakh applications from 56.59 lakh families for the waiver.

While announcing the waiver the state government excluded all government employees (except class IV ones), former and sitting legislators and elected representatives in civic bodies, income tax payees, among others from the benefits of the waiver.

This has reduced the number of applications. Besides, the reduction in the applications is because of the exclusion of fake farm loan accounts.

A cabinet sub-committee headed by cooperation minister Subhash Deshmukh and comprising senior ministers reviewed implementation of the loan waiver on Tuesday. It rapped representatives of a few centralised and cooperative banks for the poor response in collating data on outstanding farm loans. This delayed the disbursement of the waiver, leading to discontent among farmers.

Of the 89 banks that have given loans to farmers, 48 banks have shared details with the government.

Of the 30 district cooperative banks, 28 have made the submission, while only 20 of 43 commercial banks have complied to the state’s order.

The sub-committee has decided to help 2.42 lakh farmers register for Aadhaar card, which is mandatory for beneficiaries.

Officials will also visit villages and hold a community reading (chavadi vachan) to verify application details of farmers.

“We will complete the process of community reading by October 2 and begin the disbursement before Diwali. Not a single eligible farmer will be left out of the benefit and no ineligible farmer will get the waiver,” said minister Deshmukh.

Farmers’ outfits now demand action against Fadnavis

Continuing their agitation for a blanket loan waiver, the farmers’ outfits now want chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to be booked on charges of cheating and abetment of suicide.

They will stage a statewide agitation on October 20 to press for these demands. The decision was taken in the steering committee meeting of the farmers’ outfits at Jalgaon district in north Maharashtra on Tuesday.

With no solution in sight, the farmers decided to intensify their agitation against the state government by holding protest mar-ches at tehsildar offices across the state. “We will demand that Fadnavis be booked for cheating farmers and abetment of suicides,” said Ajit Nawale, coordinator of the steering committee.

The farmers’ outfits have been demanding a blanket loan waiver for farmers and implementation of recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission report.

“The government has failed to keep its promise of giving loan waiver benefits to all 89 lakh farmers in the state. The data shows that only 56 lakh farmers have applied for loan waiver. The number will further reduce during verification process as the government has imposed many conditions for the waiver. This is nothing but cheating. The government is abetting more suicides,” said Nawale.

The farmers’ issues were highlighted when they took to the streets in June. This prompted the state to announce loan waiver package of Rs34,022 crore. However, it has imposed a cap of Rs1.5 lakh for each farmer and has listed several conditions of eligibility, opposed by the farmers’ outfits. The NCP has also threatened a statewide agitation if loans are not waived before October 1.

Sunil Tatkare, state NCP chief, said the online applications are a delaying tactics by the government.

First Published: Sep 27, 2017 00:27 IST