The Maharashtra government has decided to start the loan waiver disbursal to individual bank accounts of farmers from October 18 and the whole process of providing Rs 1.5 lakh waiver to each eligible farmer is expected to be completed in a month’s time. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “Farmers will get the loan waiver from October 18. The funds will be directly credited to the individual bank accounts of farmers. All eligible farmers in Maharashtra will be given the benefit of loan waiver. The entire process will be completed in a month’s time.”
The loan waiver, according to officials, will start with 10 lakh farmers on October 18. According to the officials, the total number of farmers eligible for the loan waiver is likely to be between 60 and 65 lakh, and the total loan waiver amount would be Rs 22,000 crore to Rs 25,000 crore.
Principal Secretary, Department of Information and Technology, V K Gautam said, “The total applications received from farmers across Maharashtra are 77.29 lakh…” Adopting advanced technology and software, each and every application is being validated to ascertain eligibility, he said, and added that the process involved corroborating data received from multiple banks with individual applicants, which was a mammoth task.
Announcing the loan waiver on June 24, Fadnavis had said, “It is my endeavour to ensure that not a single debt-ridden, small and marginal farmer who is truly deserving is denied the loan waiver. We will adopt a software to weed out non-eligible candidates who have often exploited the system and thus denied the loan waiver to the poor.” It has been noted that the rich and influential often availed the loan waiver, exploiting loopholes in the system, he added.
Officials said that the online application process was adopted to minimise manual manipulations. The state government guidelines strictly state, “Ministers, elected members of the state legislature, members of Parliament, cooperative sector officials, government officials (except class four), professionals, income tax payees are not eligible for loan waiver.”
Officials in the IT department said that despite the clear guidelines, “There are instances where government officials have applied for loan waiver. We had to weed out such applications.”
They said they also had to tackle multiple applications from the same joint family. To prevent misuse of loan waiver by government employees, higher income and professionals, the IT department had sought details of their Aadhaar and PAN cards. Another problem faced was related to complex and identical names. As a result, the IT department had to create a software with 189 combinations, according to officials.