A day after State Bank of India (SBI) chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya said farm loan waivers disrupt creditors’ discipline, Congress legislators and party workers Thursday staged a protest outside the SBI headquarters in Nariman Point.
Since the beginning of the budget session, the Congress, NCP and ruling Shiv Sena have been demanding a complete write-off of all existing agricultural loans in the state.
Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde said, “When the BJP can promise loan waiver to farmers of Uttar Pradesh and Punjab ahead of elections, then why their government in Maharashtra is neglecting farmers’ plight. Maharashtra has witnessed more number of farmers’ suicides than UP and Punjab. How is it that all of a sudden the SBI chief comes up with a statement against the loan waiver when it has been demanded in the legislature?”
The Congress, NCP and even Shiv Sena have even warned that they would disrupt the proceedings till the farm loan waiver package is announced.
The BJP-led state government Thursday distanced itself from the SBI chief’s remarks.
Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said, “Bhattacharya’s remarks have nothing to do with any of the state government’s decisions, it is her personal view.
However, we also want to make clear that a loan waiver will not resolve the issues of farmers. The Congress and NCP have raised the demand for the loan waiver with an ulterior motive as they wanted their district co-operative banks benefited through the waiver, and not for the sake of farmers as being projected currently. The state government will decide on when and how to provide loan waiver.”