'Maharashtra farm loan waiver is a humiliation scheme for farmers': Firstpost's report from Latur draws sharp reactions

The report by Firstpost—revealing postcards affixed on farmers' doors in Latur erroneously proclaiming them as beneficiaries of the loan waiver scheme—has met with sharp political reactions.

FP Staff December 01, 2017 21:04:33 IST
'Maharashtra farm loan waiver is a humiliation scheme for farmers': Firstpost's report from Latur draws sharp reactions

A report by Firstpost — revealing that postcards affixed on farmers' doors in Latur erroneously proclaimed them as beneficiaries of the loan waiver scheme — has met with sharp political reactions in Maharashtra.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Dhananjay Munde, Opposition leader in the Maharashtra Legislative Council, said that the scheme — titled the Chhatrapati Shivaji Shetkari Sanman Yojana — is leading to apaman (humiliation) of farmers, rather than sanman (respect).

"Earlier, there was deception through false advertisements...Now false postcards about the loan waiver are being pasted directly on farmers' doors," Munde tweeted.

The Devendra Fadnavis-led government faced flak on the issue from its ally, the Shiv Sena, as well. Speaking to reporters on Friday, Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut said, "The party chief Uddhav Thackeray has taken a very clear stance with respect to these advertisements about beneficiaries (of the farm loan waiver). Even after taking the decision to waive the loans, the government has engaged in the deception of farmers. Our MLAs will raise this issue during the Winter Session."

The Winter Session of the Maharashtra Assembly is slated to begin on 11 December in Nagpur.

Maharashtra farm loan waiver is a humiliation scheme for farmers Firstposts report from Latur draws sharp reactions

Representational image. Reuters

The Firstpost article, published on 30 November, had reported that postcards congratulating farmers for being 'beneficiaries' of the loan waiver scheme were affixed on doors in Nandgaon village in Latur district. However, none of the farmers in the village had received the loan waiver amount in their accounts, or received a certificate declaring them to be debt-free. The report had further quoted farmers as saying that they were asked by government officials to answer in the affirmative if they received a call asking if they are beneficiaries of the loan waiver scheme.

The scheme — touted as the country's first Aadhaar-linked farm loan waiver — has been marked by technical glitches and mismatches of data since its inception. In several cases, the same Aadhaar number was found to be linked to multiple persons, and the same account number was listed for two related persons, among many other mistakes in data.

The Maharashtra government initially received 1.05 crore applications from farmers. Banks in the state furnished a list of 77.29 lakh who, according to their records, were eligible for the waiver. But a combined master list by Innowave — the government's IT vendor — showed only 2.39 lakh valid applicants.

The waiver was announced on 24 June, and the government set 18 October as the date to begin the disbursal of the loan waiver amounts. However, very few farmers have been handed out the loan waiver amounts till now.

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