The state government should immediately convene a meeting with State Level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC) to facilitate fresh crop loan waiver to debt-ridden farmers in Maharashtra, former chief minister and opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis said Sunday.
In a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Fadnavis stated, “Farmers are not getting the fresh crop loan as are still reeling under debt. The process of loan waiver has stopped since March citing Covid-19 pandemic. The banks are not considering their applications. This has led to major problems for the farmers, especially in distress districts of backward region of Vidarbha and Marathwada.”
Fadnavis asked the CM to ensure a representative from the Reserve Bank of India was present at the SLBC meeting. “The government will have to categorically convey to the SLBC to consider crop loan applications of all farmers, including those with debt. Although the state government has issued a directive to this effect, its implementation is doubtful as the order has to come from the RBI to all financial institutions,” Fadnavis said.
As per standard norms, banks don’t issue new crop loan to farmers if their dues are not cleared. Therefore, a government assurance that it would clear the loans in coming months is not adequate, Fadnavis said, adding it will have to pursued with the RBI as well.
Fadnavis said the state government’s loan waiver has benefited only 19 lakh farmers till date, when there are 1.52 crore farmers in the state.
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