Even as the farmers’ strike in Maharashtra entered the sixth day, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday announced that the loan waiver to farmers in the State would be the biggest till date.
Fadnavis was addressing the media, in a joint press conference with Union Minister for Urban Development, Venkaiah Naidu.
The strike, which was in full swing on day one, is now petering out. Other than a few pockets of striking farmers in Nashik and Kolhapur, the situation in the rest of the State is fast becoming normal. The vegetable supplies are coming back on track.
The farmers in Maharashtra have been on strike since June 1, demanding better prices for their produce. They have also been demanding complete waiver of farm loans, which has shot up to ₹1.34 lakh crore. Free electricity and implementation of the MS Swaminathan Committee report are also part of their demands. Fadnavis said that loan waiver would be provided to those farmers, who are in most distress. They will receive the loan waiver before October 31. The waiver would be unprecedented in the history of Maharashtra.
The Chief Minister said that the government would use an information technology-based platform, which will help identify the potential beneficiaries. The modalities of providing the waiver are being worked out.
He said that the previous loan waivers had some deficiencies, which had been glaringly pointed out in the Comptroller and Auditor General of India’s reports.
Fadnavis said that out of 307 APMC markets in the State, about 300 were functioning on Monday and about 85 per cent of the farm goods had arrived in the marketplaces.
He added that the farmers’ agitation is being used by political parties for their own agenda. The government will not succumb to the pressure of such parties. Also addressing the media, Venkaiah Naidu said that Maharashtra government cannot give farm loan waivers, the way it has been provided to the farmers in Uttar Pradesh, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, The waiver will have to be based on the funds available in the State Treasury and the Fadnavis government has inherited empty coffers from the previous governments. It is the previous governments led by the Nationalist Congress Party and Congress have created this situation, he alleged.
In a separate development, Naidu announced that Maharashtra was seeking funds for the Centre for metro projects, which are being implemented by MMRDA. The Union Cabinet will decide on the matter and accordingly help the State government.
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