Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was on Tuesday felicitated by farmers from Puntamba village in Ahmednagar district of the state for the decision of waiving off Rs 34,000 crore worth of farm loans. Puntamba was also the epicentre of farmers’ agitation, which eventually spread to different parts of the state.
The farmers expressed their gratitude to the chief minister for the decision, which is likely to impact at least 89 lakh farmers in the state. CM Fadnavis also assured them that his government wanted to make the farmers self-reliant.
The farm loan waiver announcement was made on Saturday and the decision was also ratified by the Cabinet. “Those farmers who have paid back their loans regularly, we will give 25 per cent loan return benefit to them. We are aware of the burden that will fall on all cabinet ministers, they will cut our expenses. All ministers and MLAs will give one month salary to support loan waiver,” Fadnavis had said.
However, the steering committee of farmer leaders on Sunday had reportedly rejected the move demanding there should be no upper limit for the loan waiver. The committee, led by Dr Ajit Navale, met at the Communist Party of India (M) office in Mumbai and demanded the entire outstanding loan be waived off.
“The scheme has upper limit of Rs 1.5 lakh. So if a farmer has an outstanding loan above it, he would not benefit from it. It is not in line with our demand of blanket loan waiver. A meeting will take place in Nashik on July 9, where the waiver scheme and its details will be discussed. The steering committee will then kick-start a Sangharsh Yatra (protest campaign) against the government which will conclude on July 23,” Dave was quoted as saying by PTI.
Farmer protests had rocked the states of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh over the demands of loan waiver. Earlier, the Uttar Pradesh government led by Yogi Adityanath had accepted the decision to waive off farmer loans in the state in its first Cabinet meeting after the new government bame to power.