Maharashtra government’s farm loan waiver scheme a sham, claims Congress

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NEW DELHI: The Congress on Friday termed as false the BJP-Shiv Sena Maharashtra government’s claim that its Rs 34,000 crore loan waiver to 89 lakh farmers was the largest ever in the country.

The opposition party claimed that 50 per cent of those entitled to waiver were yet to get benefits.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, while launching the scheme, had called it the biggest in the country.

Addressing a press conference, Maharashtra Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said, “The government announced a loan waiver scheme named after Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

However, 27 months after it was announced, several lakh farmers have been left out.”

“After the final number of beneficiaries of the scheme was released, the Congress’ stand that names of several farmers have not been included stands vindicated,” he said.

Sawant said the latest data showed that, as on August 31, a total of 44,04,147 farmers have received loan waiver worth Rs 18,761 crore.

This meant that nearly 45 lakh farmers are yet to have their loans written off, he said, adding that the one-time settlement announced by the state government was also a sham.

“Under the one-time settlement plan, 4,26,588 farmers have been given Rs 2,629 crore. Nearly 6 lakh eligible farmers have not yet received the benefits as the government had said 10,44,279 farmers would be covered. A provision of Rs 7,290 crore was finalised in the budget,” Sawant said.

However, Sawant said, the state government finalised a green list according to which 55,60,896 farmers were found to be eligible for loan waiver for which a sum of Rs 26,456 crore was required.

This meant that 34 lakh farmers were excluded from the original list of 89 lakh beneficiaries, he alleged.

“So far 44,04,147 farmers has received Rs 18,761 crore in their bank accounts. So nearly 11 lakh farmers who were part of the green list have not received loan waiver. This would cost the government Rs 8,000 crore more,” Sawant said.

He termed these exclusions as indicative of the state government’s lack of compassion and sensitivity, alleging that it made the scheme in such a way that only a few farmers would benefit.

While CM Fadnavis has blamed banks for mismanaging the scheme, he is yet to lodge a complaint with the Reserve Bank of India, Sawant pointed out.

He claimed the Congress, if elected to power in the forthcoming Assembly polls, would announced a blanket loan waiver.

Meanwhile, state BJP spokesperson Keshav Upadhay called Sawant’s allegations baseless.

“The figure of 89 lakh farmers was given by the State Level Bankers Committee (SLBC). When applications were invited online, the banks deleted 15 lakh accounts,” Upadhay said.

“If there was a Congress government in power, it would have still put the amount in the banks. The BJP government ensured only needy farmers benefit since the money belongs to the people,” the BJP leader said.

He claimed the state government decided to exclude government officials, elected representatives from the list of 89 lakh farmers.

Source: Press Trust of India