With the Opposition accusing him of ignoring western and north Maharashtra while taking major policy decisions for the farm sector, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis Wednesday stressed that the special emphasis on backward and drought-hit Vidarbha and Marathwada was because of higher number of farmers suicides being reported from there. He asserted there was no question of any regional bias.
“My government is committed to ensuring inclusive development and growth. How can I ignore western Maharashtra? Or North Maharashtra? To begin with, I have taken corrective measures through policy reforms in most backwards districts of Marathwada (8) and Vidarbha (6) where agrarian crisis is worst. I am seized of the problems in a couple of districts in Western Maharashtra or North Maharashtra. And they are also covered for both financial and logistical help from the administration,” said Fadnavis.
The state government will incur additional Rs 5,000 crore on interest waiver on loans to farmers for the next five years. This would be in addition to the Rs 25,000 crore promised by the state government to mobilise resources through agriculture tax to invest in the farm sector.
Fadnavis said the government would expose the “rampant corruption in the cooperative sector” in the larger interest of the farmers, and reiterated the decision not to go for complete loan waiver and instead make farmers self-reliant. The recommendations made in the reports of M S Swaminathan, Narendra Jadhav, Ranganath Mishra and Adarsh Mishra committees, which were commissioned by the previous government at the Centre and in the state, would be implemented.
Fadnavis said the foremost task was to enhance the irrigation potential from 18 per cent to 27 per cent in phases.