NCP chief: Maharashtra district central coop banks should move court against RBI, Centre
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday said he had asked the state’s district central co-operative banks (DCCBs) to move the Supreme Court against the Reserve Bank of India and Central government for not exchanging their high-value notes worth Rs122 crore after demonetisation was announced in November 2016.
Addressing a press conference in Mumbai, Pawar said the RBI had told these banks to consider the amount as loss in their balance sheets. “I have also convinced former finance minister P Chidambaram to appear before the Apex Court on behalf of the DCCBs,” said Pawar, pointing out the decision was unfair on residents of rural Maharashtra.
“This means the policy of demonetisation and exchange of notes declared by the Prime Minister was not fully implemented. The depositors of these banks are not Nirav Modi, they are common people,” the NCP chief said, taking a dig at PM Modi over the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud.
The NCP chief said the RBI, in its letter to the DCCBs on January 30, 2018, said the Centre had been asked about what should be done with the old notes lying with these banks. But, so far there had been no reply from the government.
The issue of old notes with DCCBs has been pending for the past two years. These old notes were collected in the state’s DCCBs within five days of demonetisation being announced.
The Kolhapur DCC bank tops the list with old notes worth Rs25.28 crore, followed by Pune DCC bank with Rs22.25 crore, Nashik DCC bank with Rs21.32 crore, and Sangli DCC bank with Rs14.72 crore.
Pawar said he had met the finance minister four times to discuss the issue, following which some banks had even got some of their old notes exchanged. “On what basis can the RBI issue such a circular then,’’ he asked. “I am going to meet finance minister Arun Jaitley, with a request to exchange old notes. I have also asked the DCCBs to move the SC.”
A majority of the DCC bank boards are under the control of Congress and NCP leaders. Pawar admitted that except DCCBs, all other banks got their notes exchanged, but said he doesn’t see any political angle in this matter.
The co-operative movement of the state has a three-tier co-operative credit structure, led by the Maharashtra State Co-operative Bank, the apex body for all DCC banks. The district-level banks (DCCB) are in the middle and the 21,253 Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) are at the bottom. Around 48.64 lakh borrowers of crop loan are from DCC banks, while members of PACS are around 1.09 crore, majorly farmers.
Pawar proposes reservation for farmers
Kicking off a new debate over reservation, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday proposed providing reservation to farmers in government jobs and education. He said many states are already providing reservation benefits to sections related to farming.
Pawar is of the view that most people from social, educational and economically weaker sections will get covered if the government forms a separate category for farmers.
The move may lead to a new demand from the agrarian community, creating trouble for the Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP government in the state. “The Rajasthan government has declared giving reservation to the Jat community. Many of the states have given reservation to sections of the society related to the farming community,” Pawar said. “The number of farmers is reducing everyday. The landholding capacity of 82% of the farmers across the country is less than two hectares, while almost 72% of the farmers in Maharashtra don’t have assured irrigation facilities. Moreover, bad weather conditions lead to crop losses every year resulting in rise in suicides,” he said.
Answering a question over total reservation quota of 50% determined by the Supreme Court for every state, he said Tamil Nadu has increased the reservation quota to more than 70%, which is also accepted by the court.
The NCP clarified he doesn’t want the quota given to the Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other Backward Classes (OBC) to be affected by providing reservation benefits to others based on the socio-economic status.
Taking a dig at the state over farm loan waiver, he said, “It seems the Fadnavis government was not properly prepared, as first the number of beneficiaries and later the amount of waiver package got reduced drastically.”