Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis Friday said the government was trying to strike a balance to work out a model to bring 31 lakh farmers within the institutional crop loan bracket.
Promising financial investments in the agriculture sector to double the income of farmers by 2021, the CM said, “The enhanced allocations of Rs 26,000 crore resulting in generation of Rs 40,000-crore income to farmers in the last financial year (2015-16) is a certificate that government reforms in agriculture are heading in the right direction. But periodical course corrections to provide greater hand-holding for small and marginal farmers with less than two acres of land is being worked out with greater urgency.”
He was addressing the media on the last day of the Budget Session of the legislature.
Fadnavis said: “Today, our reforms have ensured better minimum support price to farmers across Maharashtra. In spite of record tur dal production of 30 lakh quintals, compared to an average one tenth in previous years, farmers are getting Rs 5,000 rate per quintal. Similarly, cotton is fetching Rs 6,000 per quintal. Yet, I admit we have to provide sustainable farming for higher remuneration to the farmers.”
A day after RBI Governor Urjit Patel described the crop loan waiver as detrimental for long-term economics in the wake of the Uttar Pradesh government’s decision to waive crop loan, the CM said, “There are two angles to crop loan waiver. If we consider it only from the economic point of view, it can be debated, but there is a larger social angle, which the government cannot overlook.”
In the context of Maharashtra, he said, “I am trying to strike a balance with a workable model for the farmers. The government is not against crop loan waiver. But we have to ensure its beneficiaries are small and marginal farmers left out of the crop loan credit.”
Stating that the prevailing conditions in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra are different, Fadnavis said, “Out of the total capital budget of Rs 31,000 crore, Rs 19,000 crore has been dedicated to agriculture and its allied sectors. Our efforts are to generate more funds for agriculture infrastructure to accommodate the 15 to 20 per cent population whose sustenance on agriculture is not providing assured income.”
He said the projection of 55 to 60 per cent population relying on agriculture in the state had its own challenges as it was not commensurate with the growth index in the sector. “Today, the agriculture sector can accommodate only 25 to 30 per cent of the people, which means the government will have to provide for the gap through new avenues of job generation and scientific farming, including intense crop pattern and assured water and power in rural areas of the state,” said the CM.