Adopting the theory of back to basics, the state government is evolving a mechanism to make public the final list of eligible farmers in “chawdis” across 40,913 villages in the state. The revised loan waiver amount, following inclusion of farmers whose loans had been restructured, would increase from Rs 34,000 crore to Rs 37,000 crore.
A source in the state government told The Indian Express: “As the process of loan waiver begins, there is a possibility of some additions and subtractions. As the government has adopted a flexible approach in enforcing the biggest loan waiver ever in Maharashtra or the country. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has issued strict guidelines to the ministry of co-operation and marketing to ensure not a single eligible farmer is left out.”
Operational guidelines have been issued to financial institutions, including district central co-operative banks, nationalised and commercial banks, he added.
A source said: “We are going to adopt both conventional and modern methods to make the loan waiver process flawless.”
Fadnavis has deployed dedicated teams to constitute a software that would profile each farmer who is availing the loan waiver. The details of the farmer, along with that of his family, would be mandatory to fill up the application form that would be submitted to seek the waiver.
A senior cabinet minister said: “Along with technology, we are also planning to publish the names and amount of individual farmers who have taken the loan waiver in their respective villages/hamlets. The role of the local bodies, namely gram panchayats and village committees, would be significant for the exercise. A closely-knit village system is the best mechanism to cross check data and stop misuse.”
Citing an example, he said: “If we make public the list of farmers who availed of the loan, people would suo motu bring to notice if someone has wrongly made it to the list or has been left out.” There would be three tier audit, he said.
Earlier, Fadnavis had said that the loan waiver is not just an exercise to help 44 lakh farmers override debts and get back to the institutional credit mechanism but also to consolidate the remaining 49 lakh farmers to financially empower themselves.
According to Fadnavis, the loan waiver will be a significant step to tackle corrupt practices and systemic flaws that have been detrimental to farmers and the agricultural sector in Maharashtra.
Despite the financial burden of Rs 37,000 crore, allocated budget in the ministry of agriculture, water resources and water conservation will not be affected.
Fadnavis has given directives to the ministry of finance to not impose any cut on core sectors that are for the larger welfare of farmers and agricultural growth of Maharashtra.