Congress: Govt’s loan waiver scheme a flop; Over 50% of farmers yet to get benefit

Mumbai: Even after 27 months of announcement, the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance government has failed to pass on the benefits of the loan-waiver sche­me to all the beneficiaries.

The claim of the saffron alliance government that they gave the country’s biggest loan waiver worth Rs34,000 crore to 89 lakh farmers of the state has proved to be false, as to date, more than 50 per cent of the farmers are yet to get the benefits of the scheme, criticised the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress.

The scheme, which was hailed to be a new lifeline for the farmers of the state has been a complete flop, said Sachin Sawant, general secretary and spokesperson of the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee.

“As per the latest official data, as on August 31, 2019, a total of 44,04,147 farmers have received a loan waiver worth Rs18,761 crore. It means nearly 45 lakh farmers are still to be covered under the scheme and are yet to get their loans waived,” he said in press conference organised at the party office.

After initially refusing to waive off the farmers’ loan, the Fadnavis government relented after the statewide agitation by the farmers. The loan-waivers announced by the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh and the Congress government in Punjab have forced the BJP-Sena government to announce the loan waiver scheme in Maharashtra. “The scheme named after Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was announced in Ju­ne 2017. Even after two years of the announcement, the government failed to waive the loan of over 50 per cent farmers,” Sawant told mediapersons at Gandhi Bhavan, party office in Mumbai.

In a move to minimise the number of eligible beneficiaries of the scheme, the state adopted the online screening process for the selection of farmers with the help of their Aadhaar number and other documents. It reduced the eligible beneficiaries by 34 lakh by the state level bankers’ committee (SLBC).

“In a surprising move, the state government issued a green list of the eligible farmers under the scheme. A total of 55,60,896 farmers were found to be eligible for which a sum of Rs26,456 crore was required. Even as per this list, of the 89 lakh farmers, nearly 34 lakh have been excluded from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj loan-waiver scheme. So far, 44,04,147 farmers have received Rs18,761 crore in their bank accounts. It means nearly 11 lakh farmers, who were part of the green list, have not received the loan waiver, which would cost the government Rs8,000 crore more,” he said, exposing the claim of successful implementation of the scheme.

Calling this loan waiver the biggest loan waiver package in the country, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had launched this scheme amidst much fanfare. However, the scheme was designed in a way that only a few farmers should receive the benefit, slammed Sawant.

One-time settlement scheme a Sham

The allegations by the Congress party that the one-time settlement scheme is also a sham has also been validated, he claimed. Under the scheme, Rs2,629 crore worth of loans of 4,26,588 farmers have been settled. Nearly 6,00,000 eligible farmers are yet to receive the benefits. The government had announced Rs7,290 crore loan of 10,44,279 farmers will be settled.

Congress allegation baseless: BJP

The BJP has termed the allegations as baseless.

“We have ensured that only eligible farmers will get the benefit of the scheme. While screening of the account holders, 15 lakh accounts were found bogus and hence deleted from the list. Then, we excluded all government servants and public servants. If the Congress would have been ruling, all this money would have been poured in these bogus accounts,” Keshav Upadhey, spokesperson of BJP said, slamming Sachin Sawant.