Five months after the Maharashtra Government agreed to give loan waivers to aggrieved farmers in the state, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis confirmed that the payouts for the same will start from today, October 18.
Fadnavis made the announcement on Tuesday while hosting the customary Diwali-eve lunch at his official residence, Varsha.
“From tomorrow (Wednesday), we shall start disbursal to farmers under the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Shetkari Sanman Yojana across all the districts in the state. The money would be deposited directly into their bank accounts,” Fadnavis told media persons.
Of the total 13.6 million farmers in the state, over 10 million had enrolled for the scheme by undergoing biometric identification. Of them, 6 million had completed their online applications.
The government, from today, will start disbursing the requisite amount to the first one million farmers that cleared all security checks.
Admitting that it would entail a huge burden on the state exchequer, he made it clear that “providing relief to the farmers is the top priority” of the state government.
“Within the next 25-30 days, we shall clear around 80 percent of the loan waiver disbursals. We have a software in place which has been tested and has a database of around six million applicant-farmers,” Fadnavis added.
On reports of many “farmers” from Mumbai applying for the debt waiver scheme, he said a probe was underway and only those found genuine and eligible would be entitled for the disbursal.
On June 24, the state government had announced a massive Rs 34,022-crore relief package for the farmers, days after an unprecedented 11-day strike by the farming community in the state.
Under the scheme, the total number of beneficiaries were estimated to be around 8.90 million. However, bio-metric identification and online applications have helped identify at least 1.5 million farmers who were not eligible for the waiver.
It is expected that over four million, mostly small and medium farmers, shall become completely debt-free, enabling them to avail fresh bank loans, while 3.61 million others will be eligible to receive up to Rs 1.5 lakh to clear their pending loans.
Earlier, welcoming the announcement, the ruling party ally Shiv Sena claimed credit for the farm loans waiver and hoped that the entire exercise would be completed by October-end.
“It is because of the crusade we had launched that the state government had announced the loans waiver scheme for farmers,” Shiv Sena Spokesperson and MP Sanjay Raut said earlier this week.
Sena is BJP’s junior partner in the state government.
With IANS inputs