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Maharashtra farm loan waiver scheme: State has no details of district wise distribution of beneficiaries, reveals RTI

Mumbai: Responding to an RTI query by activist Anil Galgali, the Maharashtra government informed that it doesn't have district wise division of beneficiary farmers who are eligible for the loan waiver disbursement scheme.

Almost nine months after Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis tweeted on 30 June last year announcing the historic farmer loan waiver scheme for 89 lakh farmers worth Rs 34,022 crore, 50 percent of the beneficiary farmers have still not got a single penny from the government. The state has till date disbursed Rs 14,388 crore to 46.52 lakh farmers under the Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj Shetkari Sanmaan Yojna (CSMSSY).

File image of Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. PTI

File image of Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. PTI

Galgali's RTI query dealt with questions on the total number of beneficiary farmers, complete information on total approved and non-approved applications, names of banks involved in the process and district wise distribution of total disbursed amount. The state's Ministry of Cooperation, Marketing and Textiles public information officer DM Rane informed that district wise distribution of the total amount of funds deposited in banks is not available with the government. The officer also informed that the state doesn't have information on village wise data in Vidarbha region from 36 districts from where a total of 56,59,159 application were received under the CSMSSY. The highest number of waiver applications was received from the Ahmednagar district at 3,34,920. Rest 14,797 applications have been classified as others while 1,620 applications are from Mumbai suburbs and 23,715 applications are from Mumbai city.

The RTI reply said that a total of 19,88,234 accounts in nationalised banks have been approved, and a total of Rs 7,766.55 crore has been provided to the nationalised banks. These banks have disbursed Rs 7,589.98 crore out the amount received as above. Further 26,64,576 accounts have been approved in DCC Banks, for which Rs 6,770.19 crore has been provided and out of which, Rs Rs 6,797.75 crore has been disbursed to the beneficiaries. In 33 nationalised banks and 30 DCC Banks 46,52,810 accounts have been approved and Rs 14,536.74 crore have been provided to these banks and they have disbursed Rs 14,387.73 crore to the beneficiaries up till now.

Talking to Firstpost Galgali said that a huge amount has been disbursed by the government and the non-availability of district and village wise details is a major lapse on the part of the government. "Due to this lapse it has become impossible to verify that actual beneficiaries of the villages have been benefitted by the loan waiver disbursement," he said.

Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said that as many as 50 lakh farmers have been excluded from the ambitious loan waiver scheme.

"In the first place, the loan waiver scheme was not announced by the government willingly. The pressure from the farmers forced the government to announce it. The government is just killing time and excluding names of farmers whose names had been sent to the verification committees," Sawant said.

He also produced documentary evidence that corroborated the charges levelled by him against the government. Initially it was said that the scheme would benefit around 90 lakh of the 1.32 crore farmers across the state. However, of around 59 lakh applications received by the government 23 lakh were sent for the verification process and rejected without giving valid reasons, the Congress spokesperson said.

The information made available by the government shows that the money disbursed to the farmers has come down by a whopping Rs 5,000 crore over the past couple of months, Sawant said.

The government had much touted the one-time settlement scheme (OTS) for farm loans. But, that scheme too has failed as only about 7-8 percent farmers have availed the benefit of the scheme. On the other hand, the government is trying to exaggerate the number of beneficiaries of the loan waiver scheme by adding beneficiaries of other schemes like the OTS, he said.

To sort out the confusion over the unavailability loan waiver beneficiary names with banks, now the state government decided to directly intimate eligible farmers across 36 districts, 358 taluka and more than 40,000 villages about their status of loan waiver scheme. The state government took the decision last month after complaints against banks that they were not intimating eligible farmers whose names along with the amount has been cleared by the state government.

Cooperation Minister Subhash Deshmukh informed the Assembly in the last Budget Session that the state government has already cleared the names of 49 lakh farmers and Rs 23,000 crore for the loan waiver. But there is a lack of communication between the banks and farmers who are eligible for the loan amount, Deshmukh said.

"Instead of depending on nationalised and DCC, it has been decided to communicate the loan waiver to each and every eligible farmer through the administrative means like the collector and cooperation department," said a senior official on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, the state government has extended the deadline for filing online application till 14 April for CSMSSY. Earlier, the last date for filing the application was 31 March.

"We have extended the date for online submission of applications by the farmers for Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Shetkari Sanman Yojana from March 31 to April 14, 2018. Extension also given for availing benefits of One Time Settlement (OTS) scheme under the CSMSSY up to June 30, 2018," Fadnavis had said in a tweet.

The decision was taken in order to allow the remaining eligible farmers to file their online applications and avail the benefits of the scheme. The first deadline for filing application for the loan waiver scheme was 15 September. Since then the state government has been extending the deadline time and again.

Updated Date: Apr 10, 2018 21:30 PM

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