Maharashtra announces loan waiver of Rs 34K cr, 89 lakh farmers to benefit

Maharashtra announces loan waiver of Rs 34K cr, 89 lakh farmers to benefit

Revising the norms, limits and caps, the BJP-Shiv Sena saffron alliance government in Maharashtra announced a scheme of Rs 34,000 crore - that had been named by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the legendary Maratha warrior on Saturday.

Nearly 90 lakh farmers would be benefited from the package scheme, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced at a hurriedly-convened press conference at Mantralaya, the state secretariat here.

The scheme would be known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Krishi Samman Yojana. "This is the biggest loan waiver in Maharashtra and anywhere in the country," Fadnavis said, adding that it would put a huge burden on the state exchequer, but, for the government, the biggest priority is farmers and agriculture sector.

The Rs 34,000 crore package was finalized at an especially convened meeting after the high-powered committee headed by Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil completed discussion with farmers leaders and groups and political leaders including ally Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray and former CMs - Sharad Pawar, a former Union Agriculture Minister and NCP supremo and Ashok Chavan, the state Congress chief.

According to the Chief Minister, loans of Rs 1.5 lakh for all farmers would be waived off - which would benefit 89 lakh farmers and nearly 40 lakh farmers would be totally debt-free.

The start date would be 1 April 2012 and cut off date would be 30 June 2016 - a period of four years.
Those farmers who had paid off loans would also benefit and they would get an incentive in form of a grant of Rs 25,000 or 25 per cent, whichever is lesser.

It may be recalled, after the 11-day strike, the government announced a Rs 1 lakh waiver and then backed up with an announcement of Rs 10,000 advance for the sowing operations, however, the farmer's groups and key opposition parties - Congress and NCP were not satisfied with the scheme.

The ministers and legislators would contribute one month of their salary to the scheme, the Chief Minister said.

DH News Service

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