Maharashtra government had announced the farm loan waiver scheme, but the program could not get fully implemented because of the pandemic situation and further lockdown. The benefit of this farm loan waiver could not reach farmers, many of who are on the debtor list. The banks are refusing to disburse the fresh loan to these farmers because of the non-payment of earlier loans. Maharashtra government has decided to speed up the completion of its farm loan waiver scheme, Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Karjmukti Yojna, as banks have reportedly been uncooperative. Maharashtra government decided to speed up the loan waiver scheme as banks ‘refuse to cooperate’. The Aadhaar-authenticated process came to a standstill during the first phase of a countrywide lockdown in March.
Around 18.96 lakh farmers had received waiver worth Rs 11,999.1 crore with another 11.16 lakh farmers waiting to receive their waiver. Pronounced by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, the loan waiver scheme had aimed at waiving off pending crop loans up to Rs 2 lakh. The Aadhaar-authenticated process came to a standstill during the first phase of a countrywide lockdown in March. Around 18.96 lakh farmers had received waiver worth Rs 11,999.1 crore with another 11.16 lakh farmers waiting to receive their waiver. A total of Rs 8,000 crore is yet to be released to complete the scheme and enable farmers to become eligible for receiving new loans.
Harshvardhan Jadhav ex-MLA and ex-chief of Shiv Swarajya Paksha leader from Aurangabad spoke to Afternoon Voice and said, “The biggest drawback in farm loan waiver scheme is the inspection, government allotting funds, but the bank is doing fraud.”
“The benefits are not reaching farmers. Money, the government, has issued to the bank is going in the drain the reason being it has not been received by all the eligible farmers”. I appeal to CM Uddhav Thackeray to make these banks accountable,” he further added.
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Now the monsoon has approached, and as such, there is no drought-like situation. So, on the natural resources front, the farmers got enough breathers, what is lacking is financial help and required adequate fertilizers. The monsoon sowing activities have started, but the farmers are facing hardships to get the crop loan. The banks are not disbursing the loan, citing various reasons like previous default and other technical issues. Moreover, who so ever they sanctioned loans they are the actual farmers are not, is subject of investigation.
Maharashtra government has planned to disburse the Rs 43,000 crore-crop loan this year. The crop loan is very important for farmers to buy seeds, fertilizers, and other farm-related items. If the farmers do not have money in their pockets, then they will be unable to sow and cultivate their farm.
As per the government, out of total Rs 43,000 crore, the nationalized banks disbursed Rs 2300 crore against the given target of Rs 32,161 crore while district and co-operative banks disbursed Rs 6258 crore against the target of Rs 13,524 crore. It shows that the nationalized banks have disbursed a total 7 percent of crop loan while the district and co-operative banks have disbursed 46 percent of the amount.
Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray had called the meeting of the banks and other stakeholders and asked to disburse the loan to all farmers. Thackeray had also taken the guarantee of the farmers who were on the defaulter list of the banks. In Western Maharashtra, the crop loan disbursement has been happening effectively, while in Marathwada and Vidarbha, it has been slow pace. The banks are dilly-dallying to offer the crop loan to farmers who are in trouble due to lockdown.
Vijay Jawandia, a farmer leader, said, “The nationalized banks follow the guidelines of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) guidelines. Therefore, the central government should chip in this condition. If the government can give relief package to small scale industries, besides banks are offering moratorium to property purchasers, then why no help to farmers, that the co-operative banks follow the instruction of the state government. Still, the nationalized banks did not follow them.”
Social activist, Ajit Navale who has been instrumental in organizing the farmers’ agitation across Maharashtra, told Afternoon Voice, “Due to the lockdown, many farmers had to dump their crops having no market or transportation.”
“The Government should extend all possible help to farmers; otherwise, the agriculture sector will be in big trouble farmers could not trade their agriculture produces this year, and as monsoon approached, they don’t have finances to do farming further,” Navale said.
Senior government officials said the loan waiver scheme would be completed by the end of this month, which will solve the issue of farmers’ eligibility for new crop loans.