The Maharashtra government, which has given a loan waiver package of Rs 36,000 crore to farmers, has begun the process of political consultations on the matter. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis met NCP president Sharad Pawar in New Delhi in the regard Friday. The Maharashtra government’s decision to waive farmers’ loans of up to Rs 1 lakh, irrespective of size of land held by them, would cover more than 70 lakh farmers out of total 1.36 crore. To ensure there is no discrimination against farmers who have not defaulted on loan repayment, the government has announced an incentive package.
As the CM explained the loan waiver to Pawar, the former Union agriculture minister reportedly expressed satisfaction and suggested measures for the farm sector. He stressed on the role of a state agriculture commission to push the state’s interest for higher renumeration, which is the Centre’s jurisdiction.
During the meeting, Fadnavis and Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil said all debt-ridden farmers, small and marginal, would get maximum help. Pawar was accompanied by state NCP leaders Dilip Walse-Patil, Sunil Tatkare, and Dhananjay Munde. The meeting broadly discussed the loan waiver and the decision to extend a fresh crop loan of Rs 10,000 that has already been enforced in the state through national, commercial and district central cooperative banks from June 22.
The meeting comes a week after agitating farmers’ organisations led by Swamibhani Shetkari Sanghatana leader Raju Shetti declared peace following the government’s promise if crop loan. Both NCP and BJP leaders confirmed that Friday’s meeting was a political process to explain and also elicit support for the loan waiver decision.
“Maharashtra has given the biggest loan waiver… The package is larger both in terms of amount and the number of beneficiaries compared to Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh,” Patil said after the meeting.
Senior NCP leader Dilip Walse-Patil said, “It was a very positive meeting. Sharad Pawar who has huge experience in the agriculture sector made valuable recommendations to the state government. The stress was to accommodate the concerns of all category and sections of farmers.”
The BJP leadership has decided to hold discussions with all political parties to explain the loan waiver to get their support for its smooth enforcement in rural Maharashtra. Majority of the district central cooperative banks are known to be controlled by Congress and NCP leaders.
The meetings also aim to iron out glitches ahead of the crucial monsoon session starting next month. Fadnavis and BJP president Amit Shah met Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray last week to discuss both the Presidential polls and the loan waiver. Discussions with MPCC chief Ashok Chavan and Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana chief Raju Shetti were also held earlier this week.