Maharashtra Government may monetise land to deal with loan waiver blow

The loan waiver will come into effect by October 31.

Written by Shubhangi Khapre | Mumbai | Published: June 5, 2017 1:04:48 am
Maharashtra government, farmer suicide, farmer agitation, BJP government, Devendra Fadnavis We are keeping multiple options ready to manage the financial challenges of the loan waiver.”- Devendra Fadnavis (File)

To raise money to cope with the Rs 30,000-crore burden of loan waiver to farmers, the government is planning monetisation of land. Sources said open auction of government plots given on long lease at Re 1 along with incentives of additional floor space index was being considered to fund the relief extended to 40 lakh farmers in the state.

“We are keeping multiple options ready to manage the financial challenges of the loan waiver. From land monetisation to seeking the help of financial institutions, the government will explore all available routes to help small and marginal farmers,” Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Sunday.

A committee of senior bureaucrats representing the department of finance, revenue and forest, urban development, public works department, energy and industries have been given the task of listing unused government land parcels that are on Re 1 lease and can be developed or auctioned. The committee will have to submit its report in three months.

The loan waiver will come into effect by October 31. The CM has already been submitted a report by officials who had gone to study the loan waiver model in Uttar Pradesh, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. A senior officer of the committee said, “If we consider the present land bank, we can raise more than 1.5 lakh crore through land monetisation. Coping with the additional one-time Rs 30,000 crore is not impossible if the government takes a quick decision.”

The official claimed land monetisation was the accepted model across developed countries, including China and Japan, to fund big-ticket infrastructure projects. Asked if the loan waiver would help end farmer suicides, Fadnavis said, “Loan waiver alone cannot end farmer suicides, as past experience has shown us.

The state will continue to focus on agriculture reforms and investments of Rs 26,000 crore in the sector, till the time we achieve our target of zero farmers suicides.” He also highlighted how greater inroads of national banks into rural areas, along with the existing district cooperative banks, will work to farmers’ advantage by giving them easy access to crop loan.

“Eligible farmers should not miss out on loans for lack of access to banks in remote villages,” the chief minister said. Fadnavis’s stress on banking infrastructure follows a NABARD report that said crop loan disbursement was higher in regions with better banking networks.

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