After loan waiver, political game starts in Maharashtra

After loan waiver, political game starts in Maharashtra

Political parties including ruling Shiv Sena and the opposition parties - Congress and NCP seemed to be claiming credit a day after the Devendra Fadnavis-led saffron alliance government announced a loan waiver.

Meanwhile, ahead of Tuesday's weekly Cabinet meeting, a series of parlays took place in Mantralaya, the state secretariat and Varsha, the chief ministerial residence, to finalise the finer points of the waiver.  In the next few days, meetings with banks including nationalised banks are expected to be held.

Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil, who is heading the CM-appointed high-powered committee to handle the issue, met senior ministers and top secretaries. "We are working on the figure...at this stage, I would not like to comment," he said, refusing to divulge the impact on the state exchequer.

However, some estimates said that it could be over Rs 30,000 to 35,000 crore. The government is also planning to get some revenue from non-tax resources, Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar indicated. "Since there is GST that is coming into force, there is no way we can announce tax," he added.

On the statement of Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's statement that states announcing loan waiver must generate funds from their own resources, Patil said: "The Centre has made it very clear earlier also....we were prepared for it...a detailed Cabinet note is being prepared."

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena had put up posters crediting Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray for the loan waiver. "What is wrong in that...we have been with the farmers and we were asking for it," Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam said.

The opposition Congress-NCP said that it was because of their relentless campaign and 'sangharsh yatra'  and the agitation of farmers, the government buckled under pressure and had to side with cultivators.

Former Union Agriculture Minister and NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, a former Chief Minister, said loan waiver to farmers should be implemented without delay so that peasants could apply for fresh loan ahead of Kharif season. "Farmers are demanding a loan waiver on the lines of Uttar Pradesh. The Maharashtra government took the decision today, days after farmers took to streets and protested for their demands," he said.

"So far it is an announcement....a detailed GR has to be issued," former Chief Minister and Maharashtra Congress President Ashok Chavan said.

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