Maharashtra agrees to waive farmers' loans

Maharashtra agrees to waive farmers' loans
The Maharashtra government on Sunday announced a loan waiver for farmers after which cultivators called off their 11-day long strike.

Talks were held between a high-powered committee and leaders and representatives of various farmers’ organisations.

The representatives agreed to most of the demands including an immediate loan waiver for small and marginal farmers. After mutual consultations, July 25 was set as deadline to implement all the demands.

“Discussions between the Government of Maharashtra and representatives of farmers reached a consensus. Farmers have called off the strike…Government agrees for loan waiver for farmers,” Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis tweeted.

Joint committee
At the meeting of the six-member high-powered committee, it was decided that a joint committee would be formed to oversee the implementation of the package.

The high-powered panel, headed by Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil, included Lok Sabha member Raju Shetti of Swabhimani Shetkari Saghathana, MLA Bacchu Kadu and members of the steering committee spearheading the farmers’ agitation,

Conditions and detailing will be finalised by a joint committee, said Fadnavis, adding, “Farmers and their betterment was, is and will always be this government’s top priority.”

“We have given an in-principle approval for loan waiver for all farmers with certain conditions,” Patil said.

However, loans of small and marginal farmers have been written off with immediate effect and they shall be entitled to get fresh agricultural loans from Monday, he said.

Govt warned
Shetti, however, made it clear that in case the July 25 deadline is not met, the agitation would start from July 26 and would be much severe than what was witnessed over the last two weeks.

It was also decided that the chief minister would lead a delegation of farmer leaders and experts to the prime minister to discuss the implementation of the MS Swaminathan Committee recommendations.

The extent of loan waiver in terms of its impact on the state exchequer was not immediately known.
The government has agreed to hike the prices of milk and milk cooperatives will have to share profits in the ratio of 70:30 on the lines of the sugar cooperatives.

A majority of the cases filed against farmers during the past 11 days of strike shall also be withdrawn, said Kadu.

He  thanked the government for listening to the problems of the farmers.

When his attention was drawn to his statement that he would bomb the chief minister’s residence if the loan waiver was not announced, he said: “Now sutli bomb would be burst across the state to thank the chief minister.”

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