Maha govt forms sub-committee to recommend farmer schemes

Mumbai: The Maha Vikas Aghadi government has constituted a cabinet sub-committee headed by the Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar to study and recommend an appropriate scheme for account holders having an overdue of short-term crop loan/restructured crop loan above Rs 2 lakh as well as for account holders who have timely repaid their crop loan. The government has already launched crop loan waiver up to Rs 2 lakh with a cutoff date of September 30, 2019. Nearly 30.57 lakh farmers will be covered with the state government's outgo estimated at Rs 21,216 crore.

The government, which issued the notification on January 15, has asked the committee to submit its recommendation within a month. The crop loan wavier scheme is named after the noted social reformer Mahatma Jyotirao Phule.

The government, in its notification, said there are, in all, 1.53 crore farmers, who are connected with agriculture and agriculture-related work. They take loans from commercial and district central co-operative banks. Between 2015-16 and 2018-19, farmers were badly hit due to drought and untimely rains in various parts of the state. Farmers, who could not repay their loans because of severe damage caused to the crops by the natural calamity, are caught up in debt.

The government said that the Mahatma Jyotirao Phule crop loan waiver scheme up to a loan of Rs 2 lakh has been launched to provide much-needed relief to farmers who are in financial stress. The government's decision to form the cabinet sub-committee is important, as political parties and farmers organisations are not happy with the present crop loan waiver scheme, as they argued that it was too inadequate and too small compared with BJP government's crop loan wavier scheme worth Rs 34,000 crore covering 53 lakh farmers.

The cabinet sub-committee will recommend measures to provide relief to farmers with loans exceeding Rs 2 lakh. Besides, it will make suggestions on providing an incentive for those farmers who are repaying loans on time. Pawar, on Wednesday, had said that the government is committed to implementing the crop loan waiver in a time-bound manner. He hinted that the present scheme of a loan of up to Rs 2 lakh will be implemented in two phases and said that he will make additional provisions in the annual budget for 2020-21.

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