Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday said the government was willing to make part financial allocation along with the Centre to help 31 lakh farmers reeling under a debt of Rs 30,500 crore. However, while lending support to 31 lakh farmers to bring them back in the crop loan credit bracket, the government will also extend some incentives to the more than one crore farmers who have not defaulted in their loan repayment to financial institutions.
A day after leading a high-powered committee of cabinet ministers to Delhi to evolve a workable mechanism to help farmers, Fadnavis made a statement on Saturday in the state Legislative Assembly, even as the Opposition Congress-NCP continued their protest seeking complete loan waiver for farmers in the state.
Fadnavis said, “The Opposition is not interested in farmers’ welfare. They are just using the floor of the Assembly to do their politics. I wish them good luck.” He said, “The economic survey which projected 12.5 per cent growth rate in agriculture and allied sectors is an indicator of the government’s absolute commitment to the farmers.”
Indicating that higher investments in agriculture would not be compromised, the chief minister said, “There are 31 lakh farmers with a cumulative debt of Rs 30,500 crore in Maharashtra. We urged the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitleyji to work out a mechanism that would help to bring these farmers in the crop loan bracket.”
“ Along with the Centre, the state government is willing to make part financial allocations along with other incentives to reach out to farmers,” he added.
“While we help 31 lakh farmers to become debt-free to facilitate fresh crop loans, we have to provide some incentives to the more than one crore farmers who have made loan repayment regularly.”
The chief minister pointed out that when financial allocations are extended to the 31 lakh farmers whose long-standing dues have kept them out of the loan bracket, it would also raise questions in the minds of those more than one crore farmers who have repaid their loans.
“We have to ensure the farmers who are regularly repaying the loans don’t feel they are being discriminated against. Along with debt-ridden farmers, we have to provide some incentives to these one crore farmers,” Fadnavis said. Reiterating that the government was investing Rs 30,500 crore including Rs 8,000 crore to tackle natural calamities, the chief minister assured, “Farmers’ prosperity is the highest priority of the government.”