Maharashtra loan waiver: 100 farmers linked to single Aadhaar number

Maharashtra loan waiver: 100 farmers linked to single Aadhaar number

The Maharashtra government's attempt to implement online registration for loan waiver has sent the authorities into a tizzy as names of over 100 farmers have been found linked to a single Aadhaar number.

The state government had said that the Aadhaar-based linking will avoid any duplication as well as fake accounts getting the benefit of the loan waiver. A senior official in the Maharashtra Cooperation Department showed a list of potential beneficiaries having a common Aadhaar number.

"We always thought that the Aadhaar number will be our key to check fake beneficiaries. Now, we don't know how to address this challenge with so many farmers showing the same Aadhaar number. If we have to carry out a manual check, it will take weeks. The farming community is already agitated over the delay in implementation of the scheme," the official said.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has called an urgent meeting with bankers on Wednesday to address issues that crop up during the speedy implementation of the scheme.

Some bank officials also admitted that there are variations in the data they received from the online registration portal 'Aapale Sarkar' and those in their records. The names of some farmers are missing and some do not match with the land size or type of loan.

"In many cases, the principal amount and interest are not matching. It leads to suspicion. Unless the state officials have verified the account and its loan amount, we cannot consider that account for loan waiver," said a senior official of a leading public sector bank.

The state government had last week released a sum of Rs 4,000 crore under the first phase of the over Rs 34,000 crore farm loan waiver scheme.

Responding to the Opposition's criticism against the online system of filling forms for availing the scheme, Fadnavis had last week said had it not been done, the banks would have mismanaged funds. The Centre had earlier this year made Aadhaar mandatory for availing crop insurance policies.

As per the agriculture ministry's directive, banks were asked to persuade farmers to furnish Aadhaar identification card at the time of sanction/renewal/ disbursement/inspection of the loan or on a visit at bank branches.

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