Two months after it was announced, the Uddhav Thackeray government is ready to roll out its new farm loan waiver scheme from February 22.
About 28.5 lakh farmers in Maharashtra have so far been found eligible for availing the scheme’s benefit, which is estimated to cost Rs 18,000 crore.
On Wednesday, the state cabinet raised the limit of the Contingency Fund (CF) of Maharashtra from Rs 150 crore to Rs 10,150 crore. The government has projected that about Rs 10,000 crore of loan waiver will have to be distributed under the new scheme before the year-end. On Wednesday, the cabinet decided to withdraw the funds from the CF, which would later be recouped.
On December 27, the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government had announced the Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Shetkari Karzmukti Yojana — where a full loan waiver of agriculture crop loan availed between April 1, 2015 and March 31, 2019, and whose total arrears as on September-end stood at Rs 2 lakh or less, is to be granted.
In order to curb bogus beneficiaries and track multiple accounts, the government has decided to link Aadhaar numbers of the beneficiary farmers to the loan account. Also unlike the previous loan waiver scheme, implemented by the Devendra Fadnavis-led government, a decision to directly deposit the waiver amount into beneficiary loan accounts has been taken.
About 34.5 farm loan accounts were shortlisted for the benefit. Of which, sources confirmed, so far about 28.5 lakh accounts have been found eligible. Scrutiny of other applications is still on. At the cabinet meeting, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar also discussed plans to announce an incentive scheme for farmers who pay their loans regularly, and a separate waiver scheme for those with arrears above Rs 2 lakh.
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