Maharashtra loan waiver: Devendra Fadnavis claims govt saved 'crores' by identifying beneficiaries; Oppn says state going towards bankruptcy

Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis' hometown of Nagpur saw a battle of press conferences on Sunday, as both the state government and Opposition parties addressed the media on the farm loan waiver. The vehement claims and counter-claims were made just a day before the start of the Winter Session of the Legislative Assembly.

Speaking at his residence, Fadnavis asserted, "The farm loan waiver scheme will continue until the last farmer who has applied receives the amount." He hit out at the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), saying that when a similar waiver was announced in 2008, the state government did not have accurate data on the beneficiaries of the scheme.

Fadnavis further stated that the state government has saved 'thousands of crores' of rupees by ensuring that only genuine applicants are given the benefit of the loan waiver. However, he did not state a specific number when asked about the amount of money saved.

"I will provide a comparison of the fifteen years of the previous regime and the three years of our government on the floor of the House," Fadnavis said.

Following are details of some districts of Maharashtra with regard to the number of farmers found eligible by the state government:

Name of district Number of farmers found eligible
Ahmednagar 1.37 lakh
Akola 1.06 lakh
Amaravati 1.30 lakh
Aurangabad 94,000
Beed 1.08 lakh
Buldhana 2.22 lakh
Chandrapur 68,000
Dhule 52,000
Hingoli 56,000
Jalgaon 1.42 lakh
Jalna 1.40 lakh
Nagpur 57,000
Nanded 1.13 lakh
Nasik 1.30 lakh
Parbhani 1.29 lakh
Pune 82,000
Wardha 65,000
Sangli 42,000
Solapur 1.36 lakh
Washim 79,000
Yavatmal 1.69 lakh
Inter-district 2.21 lakh

The Congress and the NCP slammed the state government on Sunday over mismanagement of the farm loan waiver, saying that the ruling party is leading the state towards bankruptcy. Dhananjay Munde, leader of Opposition in state legislative council, said, "The state government pats its own back for the loan waiver but many farmers have committed suicide in Maharashtra since June."

According to Sunday's announcement by Fadnavis, around 77 lakh farmers applied under the loan waiver scheme. Out of these, 69 lakh farmers' accounts were found to be eligible under the scheme. From these, the government has claimed that details of Aadhaar numbers, account numbers and names of around 41 lakh farmers were found to be matching. For these, the state released an amount of Rs 19,537 crore to banks.

Of these, 21, 46,000 applications were for waiver of pending loan up to Rs 1.5 lakh, 6,16,000 were for one-time settlement and 12, 56,000 were for payment of incentive for timely repayment of loans. Although the government is now claiming that accounts and other details of 41 lakh farmers are matching, only ten days ago the number of farmers in this 'green list' was just 69,832. This is particularly surprising considering that between 16 October and 25 November, no progress was made in this regard. The Firstpost report cited above pointed out that this was because the government decided to rely entirely on data supplied by banks, which it was not doing earlier.

Name of district Amount disbursed to banks (In crore)
Akola 803
Amaravati 906
Aurangabad 507
Beed 800
Buldhana 1,500
Jalgaon 1,000
Nanded 1,000
Parbhani 1,000
Yavatmal 1,000

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Fadnavis further added that farmers who have not yet applied under the scheme should do so now and that their applications would be considered. He also said that the entire data on beneficiaries of the scheme will soon be put online.

Firstpost has been reporting about the farm loan waiver in detail, pointing out how the scheme has been marred by large-scale discrepancies such as incorrect Aadhaar numbers, incorrect amounts and mismatches in names of beneficiaries. This report detailed how a master list compiled by Innowave—the government's IT vendor—was infected as it threw up a 'hit rate' of just 3 percent.

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Updated Date: Dec 10, 2017 22:06 PM

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