A year after the state government announced the Rs 34,000-crore loan waiver, nationalised banks have fallen short in passing the benefits to loanees’ accounts. Figures revealed that, of the Rs 8,288.61 crore the state government had disbursed for the waiver, outstanding loans worth Rs 7,851.978 crore have been waived. The financially weak District Central Cooperative Banks (DCCBs) have done a better job, transferring Rs 7,288.12 crore of the Rs 7,290.81 crore disbursed to them.
Faced with unprecedented protests by farmers in the first week of June last year, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had announced the loan waiver in July, 2017. Fadnavis, while announcing the loan waiver scheme, titled Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Shetkari Sanman Yojana, had said that it will benefit over 89 lakh farmers whose loans were outstanding. The entire process was digitised.
Under the scheme, the state government was to match the information available in the bank database with that provided in farmers’ applications, and disburse the amount. The banks, in turn, were to write off the outstanding loans accounts of the farmers and make them eligible for fresh crop loans. Full waivers were to be given for outstanding loans upto Rs 1.5 lakh, while an incentive of Rs 25,000 was to be credited to the accounts of farmers who have not defaulted on their payments.
Data has revealed that, till June 30 this year, nine green lists have been generated with the state government sanctioning a total of Rs 15,579.43 crore in way of waiver. Nationalised banks, who handle a larger share of crop loan disbursals than the DCCBs, have lagged behind in passing on the benefit to the loanees’ accounts. Till June 30, data revealed that the state had disbursed Rs 8,288.61 crore to them, but, on ground, these banks have passed on benefits only worth Rs 7,851.97 crore. As mentioned above, the DCCBs have done a better job in this regard. A year since its announcement, outstanding loans worth Rs 15,140.1 02 crore have been waived in the state.
Kishore Tiwari, chairman of the state government’s committee for alleviation of farm distress, said the slow pace of transferring benefits was because nationalised banks had refused to pass on the benefits in the guise of non-payment of interest since the announcement of the scheme. “These banks have kept the amount disbursed to them in a central loop and are refusing to pass on the benefit to the farmers. They have asked farmers to pay interest on the crop loan they had taken last year,” he said.
Farmers were exempt from paying of such interests last year. Tiwari attributed the “tardy progress of loan waiver” to bank officials’ apathy towards the process. The Opposition is likely to corner the state government over the matter during the Monsoon Session of the state legislature, which is scheduled to start in a few days.