Devendra Fadnavis says Maharashtra farmers with restructured loans also eligible for waiver

Mumbai: Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday said that the farmers whose debts were restructured in 2016 will also be eligible for the farm loan waiver of up to Rs 1.50 lakh.

Announcing this in the state Legislative Assembly, he also said that the loan waiver benefit will be extended to the families of serving army jawans who are engaged in farming.

 Devendra Fadnavis says Maharashtra farmers with restructured loans also eligible for waiver

File image of Devendra Fadnavis. PTI

"The government would make certain provisions to extend the benefits of the loan waiver scheme of Rs 1.50 lakh to farmers, whose loans were restructured, and tweak the norms to make serving army jawans eligible to avail of the scheme," he said during a discussion on loan waiver.

On 24 June, the state government had announced that loans taken between 1 April, 2012 and 30 Jun 30, 2016 would be written off. However, it later announced that farmers who have taken loans from 2009 onwards would also be covered under the scheme.

The BJP-led state government had earlier said that 89 lakh farmers would be benefited by the scheme that would cost Maharashtra Rs 34,022 crore.

"The farmers whose loans were restructured, became eligible for fresh loans. However, they are facing financial burden. Therefore, we will make certain provisions to extend the benefits of the loan waiver scheme of Rs 1.50 lakh to farmers whose loans were restructured," Fadnavis said.

He also announced that a mobile application would be launched in a couple of days for the farmers to fill their forms to avail the loan waiver scheme.

He said if farmers do not have access to computers to fill the forms, they could use a mobile app to submit the required information.

Fadnavis also appealed to the MLAs in the state to assist local farmers in submitting the information.

"The form is not difficult to fill. We have set up 26,000 centres for the farmers to fill the forms. An app will be launched so that the farmers do it from their mobiles," he added.

There are 1.36 crore account holders, of which 49 percent possess less than one hectare of land.

According to Fadnavis, there are three lakh farmers in the state with outstanding loan between Rs 1.50 lakh and Rs two lakh; 1.50 lakh farmers with Rs two lakh to Rs 2.50 lakh outstanding debts; 37,000 farmers with loan in the range of Rs 2.50 lakh to Rs three lakh; 26,000 in the range of Rs 3.50 lakh to Rs four lakh and 35,000 farmers between outstanding loan ranging between Rs 4.50 lakh and Rs five lakh.

"There are 46,000 farmers in Maharashtra, who have an outstanding loan amount of over Rs five lakh," he said.

NCP leader Ajit Pawar had on Wednesday pointed out that the loan waiver scheme would be extended to the families of army jawans engaged in farming.

Responding to it, Fadnavis said, "We will tweak the norms to make the serving army jawans eligible for the loan waiver scheme."

Currently, army jawans are not eligible for the waiver.

Taking a dig at the loan waiver scheme given by the erstwhile UPA government in 2008, Fadnavis said debts secured for shops, vehicles and lands were also written off that time.

"Even Mumbai got Rs 208 crore loan waiver and Vidarbha got Rs 286 crore. Many people got very little waiver, while few others got even Rs 60 lakh waived," he said.

Fadnavis also pointed out the "loopholes" in the 2008 loan waiver scheme.

"CAG officials had taken a sample for assessing the implementation of loan waiver in the state. As many as nine per cent account holders, who were non-eligible, got their loans waived. Personal loans, vehicle loans, and those for the purchase of shops, were also got waived. There were around 2,000 cases, where people not related to agriculture also got benefited. Surprisingly, no information is available with the banks about the beneficiaries across the state," he said.

The BJP-led state government is also under criticism over the advertisements about the loan waiver scheme.

Responding to it, he said, "We are being criticised for spending money on the advertisements, but the UPA had spent Rs 1.60 crore for the loan waiver of Rs 4,000 crore. But we spent only Rs 36 lakh for Rs 34,000 crore waiver".

Advertisements are necessary to convey about the government schemes to people, he added.

The chief minister also slammed the Congress and NCP over their 'Sangharsh Yatra' they had taken out over the farmers' issues.

"I know the response the Sangharsh Yatra got. I have the report," he said.

He also told the House that the Centre had asked the insurance companies to submit the data about crop insurance online.

"Banks in the state failed to submit this data online effectively. Therefore, the Maharashtra government had approached the Centre with a demand that the data be allowed to be presented offline. However, the Centre turned down the demand. The Centre pointed out that if states like Bihar and Assam could shift their functioning online, Maharashtra can also follow suit," Fadnavis said.

Updated Date: Jul 27, 2017 22:45:35 IST

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