The scheme will be called Mahatma Jyotirao Phule loan waiver scheme
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday announced a waiver of crop loans up to ₹2 lakh pending till September 30, 2019.
While the government has not announced the exact amount of the package and the number of farmers who would benefit from the scheme, Finance Minister Jayant Patil said the amount could be more than ₹20,000 crore.
“The farmers who have pendency of loan till September 30, 2019 will benefit under this scheme and loan up to ₹2 lakh will be waived off. Today, I am announcing Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Farmer Loan Waiver scheme. This scheme will start from March as the government machinery would require two months for preparations,” Mr. Thackeray said. He was replying to a discussion initiated by the Opposition on the last day of the Assembly’s winter session.
On Friday sources had reported that the Finance Ministry was finalising a proposal to waive loans up to ₹2 lakh.
The Common Minimum Program (CMP) announced by the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government last month had listed farm loan waivers as one of the main points of its agendas. Saturday’s decision is seen as the first step towards fulfilling the promises made in the CMP.
The Chief Minister said the loan waiver will be a transparent scheme and the money will directly be transferred to the accounts of farmers.
“The farmer will not suffer from any conditions and the government intends to make as many farmers as possible loan free,” he said. Mr. Thackeray added that the present loan which will be pending in next June will also be restructured.
“Those who are regularly paying the crop loan without fail will get the benefits of a new scheme which will be announced in next 15 days,” he added.
Mr. Patil later told the sources that the actual number of beneficiaries and total loan amount will be announced soon.
“But the amount will exceed more than ₹20,000 crore claimed to be disbursed by the previous government. There will be no forms, no interview of spouse, no online system as done by the previous government. We will do it in transparent manner. Details of the scheme will be announced soon,” he said. The Opposition BJP claimed the State government had promised complete waiver of loans and by not doing so has backstabbed the farmers. Leader of the Opposition Devendra Fadnavis staged a walk-out in protest while the MLAs from the treasury benches congratulated Mr. Thackeray.
Shiv Bhojan for ₹10
Other decisions announced by Mr. Thackeray include launching the Shiv-Bhojan scheme under which a full meal will be made available at ₹10. “Initially, the scheme will start in 50 centres across the State. The number will increase after taking feedback,” he said.
In addition, Mr. Thackeray announced that each division in the State would have a Chief Minister’s Office to ensure poor citizens do not need to travel to Mumbai for their work. “These offices will be connected to the CM’s headquarters in Mumbai. All important work such as medical help, applications and other issues will be resolved at the divisional level,” he said, adding that in future this could be extended till the district level.