Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday accused Opposition Congress-NCP of shedding “crocodile tears” over the plight of farmers and said that their demand for loan waiver is politically motivated as they suffered a severe drubbing in the recent local bodies and civic polls across the state. Fadnavis reiterated that his government was not opposed to farm loan waiver but wanted that the decision, when taken, to benefit farmers.
Intervening in the State Legislative Assembly, which has been witnessing uproarious scenes on demand for farm loan waiver, Fadnavis on Thursday said the plight of farmers was due to the policies of the previous Congress-NCP government, which ruled the state for 15 years. “You have no right to ask for a loan waiver. Only BJP and Shiv Sena can ask for loan waiver. Your demand is out of political motives since you have been convincingly defeated in the recent polls. Your are just shedding crocodile tears. We are not against loan waiver but we are deliberating on when and how it should be done,” Fadnavis said.
He said about 1.36 crore farmers have taken loan worth Rs 1.14 lakh crore. “Rs 63 crore is agriculture related loan while Rs 51 crore is personal loan. Out of the total loan, Rs 31,057 crore is overdue and Rs 30,500 crore is outdated,” he said. Fadnavis pointed out that the state’s total expenditure is Rs 2.57 lakh crore of which Rs 1.32 lakh crore goes towards wages. The expenditure towards central government schemes is Rs 34,421 crore and that towards local bodies is Rs 10,407 crore.
The capital expenditure has risen from Rs 25,000 crore to Rs 31,000 crore. All these years, expenditure on agriculture investment was very less, he said adding that since his government came to power, capital expenditure on agriculture and allied sector is Rs 19,434 crore. Similarly, Rs 11,500 crore has been spent on crop insurance and assistance for natural calamities. “I want the Opposition leaders to guarantee that if we waive off the outdated loan of Rs 30,500 crore, there will be no single farmer suicide. Since the loan waiver of 2008-09, 16,000 farmers have committed suicide,” Fadnavis said.
He said if loan waiver is announced, the government will have no money for investment in agriculture sector. “Farmers became debt-ridden within a year of the loan waiver. After the previous loan waiver, banks did not find the farmers credit worthy for fresh loans,” the CM said. Fadnavis charged that Opposition Congress-NCP wants the loan waiver to help district co-operative banks run by them and which are involved in irregularities. He said Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh invested in agriculture, and farmers were benefited.