Asserting that he was not against a loan waiver for farmers, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis Thursday said it wasn’t a lasting solution for their problems and that the state government had made investments worth Rs 30,500 crore to make farmers self-reliant in the state.
The chief minister said this while making a statement on crop loan waiver in the State Legislature Assembly, outlining the multi-pronged approach of the government to tackle the agrarian crisis. “The loan waiver, which works out to Rs 30,500 crore, is exactly the amount the government has already invested in the agriculture sector to benefit farmers. Crop loss compensation worth Rs 8,000 crore was directly transferred to every farmer’s account,” he said.
While assuring the House that he would visit Delhi to hold discussions with Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh to seek more financial assistance for farmers, Fadnavis said, “The Congress and NCP’s protest on loan waiver is pure politics and not really intended to serve the larger interests of the farmers. The Congress and NCP are shedding crocodile tears in the name of farmers. But it is their 15 years’ misgovernance and wrong policies which have landed the farmers in trouble. The Opposition is responsible for the agriculture crisis in the state.”
He said extending a loan waiver to bail out farmers reeling in debt cannot be a lasting solution. “On the contrary, a one-time loan waiver often leads to financial institutions denying farmers crop credit, which is more detrimental to their livelihood,” he said.
“The Congress-NCP wants an immediate crop loan waiver to serve the financial interests of their cooperative banks. The real objective is not the farmer. But their concern is to cover up the corruption in the banks by infusing more funds availed through crop loan,” he said.
Referring to the crop loan offered by the then UPA government during the Congress-NCP coalition in Maharashtra, the chief minister said, “In 2008, crop loans were given. But if we see the statistics, the number of suicides between 2008 and 2014 (during Congress-NCP rule) was 1,600 in the state.”
While pledging to bring down cases of farmers’ suicides in the state to zero, Fadnavis said, “Crop loan is just one aspect of any agro problem. But our shortsightedness driven by politics often has worked to the detriment of farmers.”
He asserted that a crop loan waiver will not help stop suicides by farmers.