The Maharashtra government on Saturday announced a loan waiver of upto Rs two lakh for farmers, with a cut off date of September 30, 2019.
The ‘Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Farmer Loan Waiver Scheme’ of the newly formed Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress coalition regime comes over two years after the Rs 34,000 crore loan waiver announced by the then BJP-Sena government in 2017.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray made the announcement in the Legislative Assembly here on the last day of the winter session of the legislature. “Crop loans outstanding till September 30, 2019, will be waived by my government. The upper ceiling for the amount is Rs two lakh. The scheme will be called Mahatma Jyotirao Phule loan waiver scheme,” Thackeray said.
Besides, a special scheme would be offered for the farmers who repay their loans on time, he said. Finance Minister Jayant Patil said the waiver would be unconditional, and details would be communicated by the chief minister’s office in due course.
There was no word on how much financial burden the new scheme would put on the state treasury. Speaking at a press conference after the session was over, chief minister Thackeray said, “The scheme will require minimum documentation and will be hassle-free.
“A film will be made for farmers’ better understanding of the procedure for loan waiver…nobody will have to stand in long queues, unlike the loan waiver scheme of the previous government,” he said.
Jayant Patil said those who want to avail of waiver will need to approach their bank only with Aadhaar card. “Bank officials would take the person’s thumb print and the government will transfer the amount to the loan account of the farmer,” he said, adding that no online form submission will be needed.
MPs, state legislators and government employees will not receive the benefit of loan waiver, Patil said, adding that the scheme will cover farmers who cultivate fruit trees and sugarcane as well as conventional crops.
Leader of the Opposition in Maharashtra Assembly Devendra Fadnavis during the assembly had said that Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray should now fulfill his own earlier demand of Rs 25,000 per hectare to farmers for crop damages.
Last month, when a bitter tussle between the Sena and BJP over government formation was on, Thackeray toured some areas where farmers suffered crop damages due to unseasonal post-monsoon rains this year.
He had dubbed the Rs 10,000 crore package announced by the then Fadnavis-led state government as inadequate and demanded that the affected farmers be given Rs 25,000 per hectare as compensation.