A day before Laxmi puja, the State government released Rs 4,000 crore, of which Rs 3,200 crore will go towards repayment of loans of 462,000 farmers. The amount each farmer gets will vary and be determined by the loan he had availed of and the size of his land holding, etc.
The remaining Rs 800 crore is earmarked as an incentive for 378,000 farmers who have been repaying their loans on time. The Maharashtra government kick-started the process as a “Diwali gift” to the state’s farmers, nearly five months after announcing the waiver of farm loans.
At a function, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis launched a portal in which the names of the beneficiary farmers were uploaded, which will be now sent to the banks. From a single bank account, the money would be transferred to various banks, which in turn would deposit the pre-determined amounts in the individual farmers’ accounts as per the beneficiary list, he said.
The chief minister assured that the payments under the Chhatrapati Shivaji Shetkari San-man Yojana would be a continuous process till every eligible farmer has benefited, and by November 15 around 75 per cent of disbursals would be complete. According to Fadnavis, government employees who also earn income from agricultural activities, legislators and others who are regular income tax payers have been exempted from the scheme.
However, the Chief Minister made it clear that loan waiver was not the only solution to farmers’ problems and reiterated that continuous investment in the agricultural sector for the next five years would enable sustainable development besides reducing distress in farms. “Our aim was to help farmers — who had stepped outside the institutional credit systems — to return to the fold, so that they don’t get stuck in the debt-trap of private money-lenders, and also ensure that they can avail of fresh loans from financial institutions, earn profits and repay them,” Fadnavis explained.