State tells banks to pay farmers' dues

The state government will reimburse the bank as early as possible.

Mumbai: To cope with the estimated burden of Rs 34,022 crore on the state exchequer owing to implementation of farm loan waiver scheme, the Maharashtra government has written to all banks in the state for clearance of farmers’ dues on their own.

The state will then reimburse the banks at the earliest. The state cooperative department has written to all banks on October 13 and appealed them to come forward and help the government.

The Maharashtra government has declared a Rs 34,022 crore farm loan waiver for the benefit of 89 lakh farmers.

The first phase to transfer nearly Rs 4,000 crore to 8.5 lakh farmers started a day before Diwali. Though there is confusion and counter-claims as to the total number of farmer-beneficiaries, the state government is trying to reach the maximum number of farmers.

With the process of transferring money to farmers’ loan accounts having started, the state government has realised that the treasury has been empty since long. Hence, the state cooperative department has written to all banks, appealing them to clear farmers’ debts.

The letter reads, “Banks shall clear the debt and close the loan account of farmers. Also, it shall give details of these clearings so that the state government reimburses the bank as early as possible.”

The state government has submitted Rs 20,000 crore supplementary demands before the legislative houses in the recent session for implementation of the loan waiver.

While the total amount of supplementary demands was Rs 33,533 crore, the state failed to show sources for raising funds to the tune of Rs 27,000 crore. Therefore, the state government had no option but to either approach banks or raise the waiver amount through additional loans.

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