July 21, 2015 3:51:18 am
The Maharashtra government plans to levy an additional tax to mobilise Rs 25,000 crore over the next five years to enable greater investments in water conservation and power projects, and to ensure food security for farmers across the state as part of its “zero suicide mission”. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday said that a loan waiver would not serve any purpose.
As part of the zero-suicide mission, the state government is planning to bring 2.15 lakh hectares of additional land under irrigation through 132 projects in some of the suicide-prone districts within the next three years. It also plans to build 1 lakh wells over the next three years at an investment of Rs 2,074 crore. Besides, 47,277 new electric connections would be provided to farmers in the 14 suicide-prone districts. The government will also spend Rs 1,595 crore on premium for crop insurance for farmers.
Rejecting the Opposition’s demand for a loan waiver aggregating Rs 16,000 crore, Fadnavis said in the assembly such a waiver would be of no help as 60 per cent of the farmers were still outside of the credit disbursement coverage. Rather, he said, the government’s policy decisions to restructure loans with zero interest rates and repayment over the next five years had led to a rise in the number of farmers availing bank loans. “If we were to go in for a complete loan waiver, only 25 lakh farmers in Vidarbha and Marathwada would benefit. But there would be 35 lakh equally deserving farmers who would not be covered under the loan waiver due to low credit disbursement,” said the CM.
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According to him, the root cause of the agrarian crisis in Maharashtra was the mismanagement of district cooperative banks, which had benefited financial institutions in Western Maharashtra at the cost of Vidarbha and Marathwada. The state has already warned of criminal action against banks refusing loans to farmers.
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