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Monday, October 19, 2020

Furnish details of loan waiver scheme beneficiaries: HC to Maharashtra govt

The bench led by Justice Tated said that despite the figures mentioned in the petition based on news reports, the state could not inform the Court and the petitioner about the actual number of farmers who benefited

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai | Updated: September 18, 2020 3:17:12 pm
Why no statutory mechanism to regulate TV media like Press Council for print, Bombay HC asks CentreThe Bombay High Court (file)

The Bombay High Court on Friday directed the Maharashtra Government to respond to the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by BJP MLA Ashish Shelar seeking implementation of Mahatma Phule Karj Mukti Yojana, a flagship programme of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government. The scheme was announced in December 2019 and later assured in March, this year. The Court sought to know from the state government how many farmers have actually benefited from the scheme so far and why the scheme has not been implemented for nearly 35 lakh desired beneficiaries or farmers as alleged by the petitioner.

A division bench of Justice K K Tated and Justice N R Borkar on Friday heard the PIL filed by BJP MLA Ashish Shelar through senior advocate Rajendra Pai via videoconferencing, which said that the scheme was not properly implemented in the interest of farmers and less than half of the beneficiaries were granted loan waivers.

Pai said that while there were more than one crore farmers across the state, the loan waiver scheme was to benefit nearly 35 lakh of them who had loan amounts up to Rs 2 lakhs. Referring to news reports, he claimed that only around 15 lakh farmers are benefited so far, while loans of the majority of others are not yet waived.

Shelar said that despite raising questions in the state assembly several times, he did not get a satisfactory answer as to how many farmers had actually benefited and he had no option left to approach the High Court seeking directions for implementation of the scheme.

Additional Government Pleader Geeta Shastri for the state government said that the petitioner being MLA could easily have got the information through the concerned department or through the Right to Information (RTI) Act and there was no need to approach HC. The PIL was based on news reports and did not show any actual figures of the number of beneficiaries which were available with the concerned department, Shastri said.

After hearing submissions, the bench led by Justice Tated said that despite the figures mentioned in the petition based on news reports, the state could not inform the Court and the petitioner about the actual number of farmers who benefited and the status of implementation of the scheme. The Court directed the state government to file an affidavit in reply to the PIL within three weeks and granted time to Shelar to file a rejoinder to the same and posted further hearing to October 22.

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