Agri Business

Covid-19: Farm-loan waiver scheme hits a roadblock; farmers struggle to avail fresh loans for kharif cultivation

Radheshyam Jadhav Pune | Updated on July 03, 2020 Published on July 03, 2020

Out of 151.34 lakh hectares of land under kharif cultivation, including sugarcane, sowing on 60.56 lakh hectares (40 per cent) has been completed in Maharashtra   -  Raju Sanadi

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray   -  PTI

The State’s tax as well as non-tax revenue has come down due to various restrictions imposed during the lockdown

Implementation of the Mahatma Phule Farm Loan Waiver Scheme announced by the Uddhav Thackeray government has hit a roadblock as the State government is struggling to manage its shrinking coffers.

After assuming office in December last year, the ruling Shiv Sena- NCP-Congress alliance announced the loan waiver scheme, which was to benefit 32 lakh farmers in Maharashtra. By March 31 about 19 lakh farmers in the State had benefited from the scheme, with loans worth ₹12,000 crore being waived. However, the government is struggling to pay the outstanding amount of ₹8,200 crore of the remaining 11.15 lakh farmers as the lockdown has severely affected the State’s income.

No funds

According to reports, the State government has to take loans to pay the salaries of its employees. The government has already decided to cut its spending for the budget year as the State’s tax as well as non-tax revenue has come down due to various restrictions imposed during the lockdown.

State Cooperative Minister Balasaheb Patil claimed that by July-end the State government would disburse the outstanding waiver amount into the farmers’ loan accounts. There were some hurdles in executing the scheme due to the lockdown because of Covid-19, said Patil.

“Kharif sowing has started. The process to pay the loan waiver amount to farmers in the third list has started. The State government has kept aside ₹2,000 crore and by July end an amount of ₹8,200 crore will be deposited in loan accounts of 11.15 lakh farmers,” Patil said in a statement. He said that the State has ordered banks to offer loans to farmers who have not yet received the benefit of the loan-waiver scheme.

The State has also asked district collectors to register complaints against bank officials who deny crop loans to farmers. However, according to the United Forum of Bank Unions (Maharashtra), banks are not in a position to sanction fresh crop loans to some farmers as their existing crop loan accounts are already non-performing assets and the rules don’t permit the extension of fresh crop loans in such cases.

Farm body unhappy

Shetkari Sanghatana, the apex farmers body in the State has alleged that farmers are struggling to purchase seeds and fertilisers for kharif cultivation as banks have not been providing loans and the State is not depositing the loan-waiver amount in their loan accounts. Shetkari Sanghatana President Anil Ghanwat said that the entire kharif season will go waste if farmers are unable to carry out sowing operations on time.

Out of 151.34 lakh hectares of land under kharif cultivation, including sugarcane, sowing on 60.56 lakh hectares (40 per cent) has been completed in Maharashtra.

Kharif cultivation, except for sugarcane, is carried out on 141.99 lakh hectares, of which sowing operations had been completed on 59.60 lakh hectares by June 22.

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

Published on July 03, 2020
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor