The BJP-led Fadnavis government had announced a “historic” loan waiver of Rs 34,022 crore for farmers last month.
Mumbai: Bowing to pressure from his own party members, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday, expanded the ambit of the loan waiver scheme to include even those farmers who had taken loans after 2008. Earlier, the loan waiver scheme, called the ‘Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Sanman Yojana,’ covered only those farmers who had outstanding loans in the period from April 1, 2012, to June 30, 2016. Mr Fadnavis made the announcement during his fortnightly programme ‘Mi Mukhyamantri Boltoy.’
BJP legislators Anil Bonde, Ashish Deshmukh, Sanjay Kute and Prashant Bamb called on the chief minister earlier in the day and demanded that farmers who had taken agricultural loans after March 1, 2008 and before May 31, 2012, be given the benefit of the loan waiver scheme announced last month.
The erstwhile Congress-led UPA government under Manmohan Singh had announced an agriculture loan waiver and a debt relief scheme of Rs 71,000 crore for the country in 2008. That scheme covered cultivators who had an overdue of agricultural loans up to February 29, 2008.
“Mr Fadnavis agreed to the demand raised by the BJP legislators and made the announcement on including those farmers in his loan waiver scheme,” said a release issued by the Chief Minister’s Office. The CM also extended the date to repay loans taken by farmers in the year 2016-17 and those who are regular payees from June 30, 2017 to July 31, 2017, the statement said. In the One Time Settlement (OTS) scheme, farmers can repay outstanding loan in four instalments. Once they repay three instalments, the government will give the fourth instalment of Rs 1.5 lakh as the loan waiver, he said.
Later, while replying to queries by reporters on the inclusion of farmers from Mumbai and its suburbs in the loan waiver scheme, Mr Fadnavis said he would speak at an “appropriate time.” “The figures (on number of eligible farmers) have been provided by the State Level Banking Committee and they will be rechecked before giving waiver benefit,” he said.
The BJP-led Fadnavis government had announced a “historic” loan waiver of Rs 34,022 crore for farmers last month and subsequently laid down the eligibility criteria for availing it.