Maharashtra farm loan waiver still leaves many in the lurch, 38 lakh farmers yet to receive benefits of scheme
Seven months after its announcement by Devendra Fadnavis, the implementation of Maharashtra's farm loan waiver scheme still leaves much to be desired.
Maharashtra's chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had announced a historic farm loan waiver in the state on 24 June 2017. Seven months after its announcement, the implementation of the scheme — titled the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Shetkari Sanman Yojana — still leaves much to be desired.
As of now, the scheme has benefitted 31 lakh farmers and loans worth Rs 12,262 crores have been waived. At the time of the scheme's announcement, 89 lakhs farmers were expected to be beneficiaries and the burden on the exchequer was expected to be Rs 34,000 crore.
Due to incorrect data submitted by nationalised and district central co-operative (DCC) banks, the implementation of the farm loan waiver has not yet picked up speed. Further, data of farmers had to be entered in 66 columns in the software provided by the government, due to which glitches took place. This led to hurdles in disbursing loan waivers from October to December 2017. However, subsequently, the government, in a change of methodology, decided to transfer the amount to banks instead of farmers' accounts. After this, the scheme picked up speed. According to government figures, an amount of Rs 12,262 crore has been transferred to 31 lakh farmers' accounts. However, the government has not yet come out with a district-wise beneficiary list of farmers and their bank details.
In the recent Winter Session at Nagpur in December 2017, Fadnavis admitted on the floor of the House that his government made some mistakes in the implementation of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Shetkari Sanman Yojana. He had then stated that the government has now overcome the hurdles before it and that the administration will continue to implement the loan waiver scheme until the last eligible farmer is given its benefits.
Till now, the Maharashtra government has transferred Rs 22,000 crore to banks and completed the validation of 43,16,768 accounts. Out of these, 28,97,704 accounts are eligible for the loan waiver scheme, while the remaining 14 lakh accounts are eligible for the incentive scheme, the chief minister said in the Assembly in December 2017. Under the incentive scheme, the government is provide an incentive of up to Rs 25,000 to farmers who repaid their loan within a stipulated time. Implementation of the scheme suffered as in many cases, the data provided by co-operative, public and private sector banks did not match with data provided by farmers. The farmers had uploaded their information on the Aaple Sarkar portal.
A total of 77 lakh farmers had applied for the loan waiver, out of which 69 lakh were found to be eligible for the scheme. Considering that only 31 lakh of them have received the benefits of the scheme, it is evident that for many farmers, the wait for the loan waiver may be a long one.
About 47 lakh farmers' names had been included in the 'green list,' in which data of farmers was found to be matching by the government. However, errors have continued to crop up in the 'green list' sent by the government to banks, as this report shows.
Under the loan waiver scheme, there are three categories of beneficiary farmers — those who are eligible to receive the full loan waiver, those who are eligible to get an incentive amount and those who are eligible to receive a one-time settlement. The last category is of farmers who had outstanding loans of over Rs 1.5 lakh, and have to repay the amount above Rs 1.5 lakh to get the remaining amount waived.
According to data accessed by Firstpost as on 24 January 2018, there are 14,91,022 accounts in the green list with nationalised banks and 10,74,972 farmers with DCC banks. Thus, the total number of farmers in this category is 25,65,994 and the total amount is Rs 15,140 crore. In the OTS category, the corresponding figures are 8,04,336 lakh farmers and an amount of Rs 5,836 crore. In the incentive category, the corresponding figures are 13,75,892 farmers and the amount is 2,125 crore.
Interestingly, the amount so far disbursed to banks is Rs 12,249 crores. The amount disbursed to farmers is Rs 12,262 crores. It should also be noted that there have been several reported cases in which farmers have received amounts which are either less or more than their actual loan amounts. This is significantly below the figure of Rs 34,000 crore which was expected to be waived according to the original announcement.
Speaking to Firstpost, Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said, "The government has claimed that the loan waiver was the largest in the entire country, but this statement is absolutely false. Out of the total 89 lakh expected beneficiaries, more than 50 lakh farmers have not got the benefit of the scheme. The government had claimed earlier that Rs 22000 crore has already been disbursed to banks. This statement has proved to be false. The loan waiver scheme has turned into a fiasco."
During the Monsoon Session of the Assembly, the governent had allocated Rs 20,000 crore for the scheme. In the Winter Session, the government made an additional allocation of Rs 15,000 crore. Thus, in all, the state's cooperation and marketing department has allocated Rs 35,000 crore for the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Shetkari Sanman Yojana.
Following are some the reports in Firstpost's series on the loan waiver—
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