Although 94 per cent kharif sowing has been completed in Maharashtra so far, crop loan for the season has been disbursed to only about 50 per cent farmers till now, an official said.
According to the official, this delay in loan disbursement was due to several factors, including that previous unpaid debts have rendered a number of farmers ineligible to get fresh loan.
Earlier this week, the state government announced that of the total 140.69 lakh hectares of agricultural land, kharif sowing has been completed on 132.85 lakh hectares, which comes to around 94 per cent.
The government disburses crop loan every year around May so that farmers can use the funds during the kharif season.
“But despite the proposed outlay of Rs 43,000 crore, actual loan disbursed so far is around Rs 23,000 crore. It means around 50 per cent of loan disbursement for kharif season is yet to be done,” a senior official from the state Cooperation Department said.
These figures were revealed during a review meeting held recently in Pune, where officials of the cooperation department and representatives of all the banks were present.
“The region that is worst hit in terms of loan disbursement is Marathwada, where proposed outlay was Rs 12,000 crore, but only Rs 3,000 crore has been disbursed,” the official said.
Around 15 lakh farmers in Marathwada region regularly seek crop loans. However, so far only 5.75 lakh farmers have received crop loan, which means around nine lakh farmers are still without loan,” he added.
When asked about the loan disbursement figures, another official from the department said, “The government had introduced the loan waiver scheme (in June) last year. But it took a little long for the banks to actually get the money and clear the existing debts from the farmers’ accounts.”
“Due to several such technical issues, debts of several farmers are yet to be cleared, which is why they are yet to become eligible for fresh loan in the current kharif season,” he said.
According to the official, the state government has time and again asked the banks to adopt a more human approach and disburse the loans to the farmers.
“But it seems, they have preferred to stick to their guidelines of banking. Unless a loan account becomes clear of earlier debts, as per the banking norms, we cannot issue fresh loans.
“If the state government has failed to disburse money to banks to clear the outstanding loans, it is not our fault,” a senior official from a public sector bank said.
The BJP-led Maharashtra government had announced Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Krishi Sanman Yojana, a Rs 34,022 crore loan waiver scheme, on June 24 last year following strident protests by farmers.