Mumbai: Almost a year after the loan waiver was announced, the Maharashtra government has disbursed Rs 14,916 crore into the accounts of 37.4 lakh farmers, the latest review of the scheme by a cabinet subcommittee on May 29 shows. This is 64.5% of the Rs 23,102 crore the state has budgeted for the scheme so far.
The pace of disbursal has slowed over the last three months. In March, the government told the state assembly a waiver of Rs 13,872 crore had been extended to 37 lakh farmers. This means that since then, an additional sum of Rs 1,044 crore has been extended. Also, the break-up of the scheme reveals 22 lakh indebted farmers or 59% of 37 lakh beneficiaries received a loan waiver. And 15.3 lakh farmers or 40% of beneficiaries received an incentive payment as they had not defaulted on their loans. This part of the scheme was meant to reward farmers who are credit-worthy.
So far, the state has disbursed 44% of the Rs 34,022 crore originally announced for the scheme. After the farmer strike last year, CM Devendra Fadnavis had announced the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Shetkari Sanman Yojana on June 24, 2017. He said it would benefit 89 lakh farmers.
The state set up eligibility norms in order to ensure only those dependent on farming and not prosperous accessed the scheme. After the long march of farmers from Nashik to Mumbai by the Kisan Sabha this year, the scheme’s scope was expanded. Online applications are being received till June 15 with the state extending the deadline.
“The eligibility norms have ensured only those who deserved it got the waiver. Naturally, the sum will be less than Rs 34,022 crore. We have saved money and prevented it from going into the wrong hands,” said cooperation minister Subhash Deshmukh. The state has received applications relating to 77 lakh farmer accounts. Of these, 46.5 lakh or 60% have been approved so far.