Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced Rs 34,000 crore loan waiver calling it the biggest in the history of the state. But for a state already ridden under severe debt, the decision could adversely affect infrastructure projects.
While announcing the loan waiver, Fadnavis said that his government was aware that such loan waiver will affect the finances of the state.
After meeting a group of farmers on Monday, Fadnavis compared the additional burden as a cloud burst. “We are already facing a fiscal deficit of Rs 4,000 crore even before the loan waiver. The situation is such that we will have to borrow Rs 4,000 crore to continue with our ongoing projects,” said Fadnavis.
“The Finance department had advised us to keep the loan waiver amount up to Rs 15,000 crore, but then we wanted to do something for the farmers so we went ahead,” Fadnavis added.
Maharashtra has a debt of over Rs 3,85,000 crores for the financial year 2016-17. A sum of Rs 25,000 crore is paid only as an interest over the debt. Another Rs 25,000 crore will be required to implement the 7th Pay Commission. After scrapping the local body tax, an additional burden of Rs 7,000 crore has been put on the state.
To add to the woes are political statements that are adding fuel to the already raging fire. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s statement that the farm loan waiver is not a permanent solution has given the Opposition yet another opportunity to target the BJP-led government.
“The BJP and RSS have shown yet again that they are anti-farmers. They took the decision because they were under tremendous pressure,” alleged Ashok Chavan, President of the State Congress.
Chavan also alleged that there was a big difference in loan waiver announcement and facts. “The government has done a jugglery of numbers. In the 2008 loan waiver, Maharashtra’s share was Rs 14,000cr.
Though the loan waiver sanctioned by the BJP government is Rs 34,000 crore, the one given by us more than this,” Chavan added.
Chavan also demanded to remove the cap of loan waiver of Rs 1.50 lakh.