The Uddhav Thackeray-led newly-formed coalition government in Maharashtra has come under fierce criticism from the opposition BJP and farmers’ group after the decision to only waive the crop loan with an outstanding amount of less than Rs two lakh as of September 30. 

According to a government resolution (GR) which specifies the criteria for the waiver scheme, issued on Saturday, says farmers whose outstanding crop loan amount till September 30 this year exceeds Rs two lakh will not be eligible for the loan waiver scheme.

The loan waiver scheme was announced by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in the Maharashtra Assembly last Saturday. Thackeray, who heads the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government, said the money will be deposited in the banks directly. 

However, the cut-off date of September 30 and a cap of Rs 2 lakh has irked farmer leaders and the BJP.

Finance Minister Jayant Patil, however, promised that the government will work out a plan to provide relief to farmers who are not covered under the scheme. 

“We have sought details of farmers whose loan dues are more than Rs two lakh and will work out a plan to provide relief to them as well,” he was quoted as saying by PTI. 

The government resolution (GR) issued by the government said, “As per the Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Farmer Loan Waiver Scheme, farmers whose loan is up to Rs two lakh taken between April 1, 2015, and March 31, 2019, and which has not been repaid till September 30, 2019, will be eligible for the waiver.”

According to the GR, if the principal crop loan amount taken during this period along with the interest exceeds Rs two lakh, and which has not been repaid by September-end, then those farmers will not be eligible for the waiver.

It further said that a committee of the Finance and Co-operation Department will take a decision on whether to include the NPA (non-performing assets) accounts of farmers in nationalised, private and rural banks in the loan waiver scheme.

Individual farmers who have taken loan taken from nationalised, district, co-operative banks and co-operative societies will be considered for loan waiver, PTI reported. 

Elected representatives, including serving and former ministers, present and former MLAs, central and state government employees, whose monthly family income is more than Rs 25,000, excluding Class IV employees will not get the benefit of the scheme. Pensioners whose monthly income is more than Rs 25,000 are also excluded from the scheme. 

Those who pay tax on the income incurred from the non-agriculture sector will also not get the benefit.

Speaking on the conditions set out for the scheme, farmer leader Ajit Navale said it was a “betrayal” of the farming community.

He said since the majority of farmers have loan arrears of more than Rs two lakh, most of the farmers are out of the scheme.

Highlighting that the government announced that the loan waiver would be unconditional, Navale asked the GR to be withdrawn.

Raju Shetti, leader of Congress-NCP ally Swabhimani Paksha also criticised the government. “Farmers were promised unconditional loan waiver. But due to the Rs two lakh condition, several farmers will become ineligible for the scheme. This is wrong,” he said. 

BJP leader and former finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said th the Uddhav Thackeray-led government has deceived the farmers.

Courtesy : DNA

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