A group of Congressmen including legislators on Thursday staged a protest outside the State Bank of India headquarters at Nariman Point protesting its Chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya’s remarks on farm loans waiver. The protesters numbering over two dozen raised slogans against SBI and entered the SBI building demanding to meet some senior officials to register their formal grievance.
“However, even as a senior officer was going to meet them, the protesters had left the premises,” an SBI official said.
Yesterday, Bhattacharya expressed her reservations over the assurances and demand for complete farm loans waiver, coming up from different quarters in recent months.
These include the Maharashtra opposition parties and ruling ally Shiv Sena, besides the Karnataka government, and assurances to this effect during the recent election campaign in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.
Bhattacharya, 60, said that this would disturb the credit discipline among the borrowers, they would keep expecting more such waivers in future and even those (future) loans would remain unpaid.
The Congress, NCP and ruling Shiv Sena have been vehemently demanding a package to fully write off all existing farm loans in Maharashtra since the Budget Session of the state legislature started.
The Shiv Sena has even warned its ally that it would disrupt the proceedings till the farm loan waiver package is announced and create hurdles in the budget presentation this week.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis informed the legislature on Thursday that in the past five years, there have been 16,000 farmers suicides despite writing off farm loans, and asked the opposition, “Who would guarantee that suicides will stop after another such scheme is implemented?”