After a delay of four years and several changes, the controversial Maharashtra Money Lending (Regulation) Act aimed at checking the exploitation of farmers by private money lenders was cleared by the Centre on Friday.
“The state government will strictly enforce the act. It will go a long way in stopping the exploitation of farmers by money lenders,” Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil said.
In August, 2013, the Bill was sent to Centre the for seventh time after incorporating changes suggested by the Centre, which had objected to the overlapping of several provisions with central laws, including the Reserve Bank of India Act, Companies Act and the Banking Act.
The Bill was passed in April 2010 by the state legislature following a spike in the number of suicides by farmers in Vidarbha. The law proposes a penalty of Rs 50,000 and five-year imprisonment for illegal money lending activities. Licensed money lenders will also have to strictly adhere to money-lending norms and would attract a penalty of up to Rs 25,000 and imprisonment of up to one year in case of violations.
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