Maharashtra loan waiver: MP Raju Shetti says state didn't float tender; alleges implementing firm picked through 'back door'

The Maharashtra farm loan waiver scheme has run into another controversy, with Swabhimani Shetkari Saghtana president and Lok Sabha MP Raju Shetti alleging that a private company was allotted the work of executing the scheme without tenders being called for.

Shetti alleged that Principal Secretary (IT) Vijay Kumar Gautam and the officer on special duty (OSD) to the chief minister Kaustubh Dhavse allotted the work to Nagpur-based company Innowave IT Infrastructure Private Limited 'through the back door.'

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Raju Shetti, the MP from Hatkanangle, claimed that glitches in the loan waiver scheme such as non-disbursal of amounts and incorrect lists took place as the task of implementing the scheme was allocated to this 'inexperienced' company. He sought to know the number of people who are working on this scheme, and how many of these are experts in information technology. He even sought an assurance from the government that it would keep information about bank accounts of farmers and their Aadhaar numbers secured.

Speaking to Firstpost, Shetti said that he will approach the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) in this regard.

The Nationalist Congress Party, too, hit out at the Maharashtra government, alleging that several welfare schemes are being implemented through digitisation, but their implementation leaves much to be desired. NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik accused the administration of 'digital dalali.'

A statement from the chief minister's office, however, strongly denied the allegations made by Shetti, terming them as 'completely incorrect and based on half-baked information.' According to the statement, a request for proposal (RFP) in this regard was placed before a high-powered committee under the chief secretary. The committee received three tenders, out of which one was chosen, the statement said.

Earlier reports by Firstpost had highlighted several shortcomings in the loan waiver scheme. For instance, documents accessed in this report showed multiple names were allocated against one Aadhaar number while on many occasions the same individual appeared more than once.

Maharashtra received 56.59 lakh applications from farming families for its loan waiver scheme. But a senior Information and Technology Department official said only 20 lakh accounts were found operational and eligible and that the IT Department was finding it difficult to verify every bank account with the data they procured from the State Level Bankers Committee.

Updated Date: Nov 03, 2017 15:56 PM

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