The total budget for crop loan waiver is likely to touch Rs 35,000 crore, benefiting 60 lakh farmers across Maharashtra. The state government, which has already made financial allocation of Rs 26,000 crore for the loan waiver, will make an additional provision of Rs 9,000 crore for it.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has issued directives to financial institutions to extend the loan waiver to every eligible farmer, keeping the scheme open-ended even after a year.
“In 2018-19, our estimate is, an additional revenue worth Rs 40,000 crore would help address two major demands: the Rs 9,000 crore for loan waiver is one aspect; another would be Rs 23,000 crore required for providing enhanced emoluments to government employees under the Seventh Pay Commission,” said an official in the finance department.
On July 24, 2017, Fadnavis had announced the Rs 34,200-crore loan waiver. The scheme was named Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Shetkari Sanmaan Yojna. Under the scheme, a farmer gets a loan waiver of up to Rs 1.5 lakh irrespective of the size of land-holding. “The government has already provided Rs 26,000 crore to financial institutions to wipe out the debt of farmers. In the coming days, Rs 9,000 crore would be provided to accommodate farmers falling under an ‘one-time settlement (OTS)’ category, among others. Under OTS, farmers have to repay the outstanding amount which exceeded Rs 1.5 lakh. Once they repay the outstanding amount, they can avail the loan waiver of Rs 1.5 lakh. There are 8 lakh farmers under OTS,” the official said. The scope of the loan waiver has been expanded thrice in the last one year.
When the loan waiver was announced, the scheme applied to farmers owing debt from 2009 to 2016-end. However, as the scheme was implemented, it was extended to all farmers reeling in debt since 2001 to 2009. These category of farmers included those who were deprived of the loan waiver announced by the previous Congress-NCP government during 2006 and 2008.