Maharashtra farm loan waiver: Govt expands scope of scheme; each member of farmer's family now to get benefit

Mumbai: The Maharashtra government has expanded the scope of the loan waiver scheme by extending the benefits to every member of the farmer's family in case of a separate loan account and issued an official order to this effect, an official said on Sunday.

The state government had said that it had spent around Rs 14,000 crore as part of the loan waiver till March this year. The government said the scheme had so far benefitted 35.32 lakh farmers in the state.

A government resolution (GR) was issued on expanding the scope of the loan waiver scheme on 10 August. The decision had been announced in the Monsoon Session of the state legislature held in Nagpur this year.

 Maharashtra farm loan waiver: Govt expands scope of scheme; each member of farmers family now to get benefit

Representational image. Reuters

Earlier, the state government had considered the farmer's family as one unit and considered it eligible to claim a waiver of Rs 1.50 lakh agricultural debt. As per the GR, every member of the family having some agricultural debt will now be covered under the scheme, which was announced last year following strident protests by farmers.

"Every person's loan amount up to Rs 1.50 lakh will be waived. The necessary instructions are given to banks to prepare a list of such potential beneficiaries," a state Co-operation department official said.

As per the initial scheme, if a farmer had a loan outstanding of more than Rs 1.50 lakh, then that difference has to be paid by him before he becomes eligible for the waiver.

"As per the revised rule, the farmers who have paid some money to the bank as per the first scheme but the cumulative amount of the outstanding loan is less than the revised norms; then the banks will have to return the amount to farmers," the GR stated.

For instance, as per the earlier scheme, if a farmer family had a cumulative loan outstanding of Rs two lakh and Rs 50,000 had already been paid by them, the state would bear the burden of Rs 1.50 lakh, it said.

"As per the revised norms, the paid amount of Rs 50,000 will have to be returned to the family because everyone in the family is entitled for loan waiver now," as per the GR.

The government had paid Rs 13,500 crore to banks towards bad loans till March this year, which benefitted 35.32 lakh farmers.

However, the government wanted to cover at least 77 lakh farmers, said the official.

While announcing the Rs 34,000-crore Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Shetkari Sanman Yojana last June, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had said 89 lakh farmers would benefit from it.

However, the implementation of the scheme — applications have to be filed online — was criticised by many quarters, including farmers, due to a long list of eligibility criteria. The scheme was tweaked subsequently to make it more feasible.

Updated Date: Aug 12, 2018 20:56:23 IST