The Maharashtra cabinet on Tuesday widened the scope of the farm loan waiver by including the farmers who have outstanding loans between 2001 and 2009 and extending the benefits to farmers with outstanding loan taken for allied activities such as emu farming, shade net and polyhouses. This would add about four lakh more farmers to the list of beneficiaries of the waiver announced in June last year.
Following the assurance given to the farmers after their long march from Nashik to Mumbai during the budget session last month, the state government decided to widen the scope in the cabinet meeting on Tuesday. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said the decision was historic as the farmers who could not benefit from the loan waiver given by the previous government in 2008-09 have been incorporated in the waiver announced by the present government.
"About two lakh farmers whose outstanding loans date back to 2001 to 2009 will get the benefit,” said an official from the cooperation department.“Two more lakh farmers who have taken the loans for allied activities including shade net and polyhouses will also be given the benefits of the waiver. Though we have not worked out the additional burden (in terms of cost), the outstanding amount dating back to more than a decade is not expected to be much in terms of amount. Most of the outstanding loans for the allied activities are expected to be covered under the one-time settlement.”
The loan taken from 2008 to 2016 for the allied activities will be covered under the scheme. The farmers seeking the waiver for their outstanding loan between 2001 and 2009 will have to give an undertaking that they have not benefitted from the loan waiver announced by the government in 2008 and 2009. This means the farmers who took up loans up to June 2016 will be eligible for the waiver.
Of the 56.59 lakh applications that were short-listed under the loan waiver scheme, the state government has prepared the green list of 46.5 lakh farmers. Of them, the accounts of 37.33 lakh farmers have been credited with the amount of Rs14,800 crore so far.