Farmer leaders reject loan waiver

first_imgThe steering committee of farmers’ leaders on Sunday rejected the Maharashtra government’s ₹34,022-crore loan waiver scheme, claiming there should be no upper limit.The committee met at the office of Communist Party of India (M) here and demanded the entire outstanding loan be waived. Dr. Ajit Navale, member of the committee, said, “The scheme has an upper limit of ₹1.5 lakh. So if a farmer has an outstanding loan above it, he would not benefit from it. It is not in line with our demand of blanket loan waiver.” A meeting will be held in Nashik on July 9 and the committee will launch a Sangharsh Yatra (protest campaign) against the government, which will end on July 23. Dr. Navale said, “We will hold a State-wide agitation on July 26 as our demands have not been addressed by the government.”Meanwhile, National Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar said on Sunday that the farm loan waiver announced by the Devendra Fadnavis-led Bharatiya Janata Party government was not wholly satisfactory. However, Mr. Pawar said his party would support the Maharashtra government and play a constructive role in providing relief to debt-ridden farmers.The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Krishi Sanman Yojana will write off debt up to ₹1.5 lakh per farmer (from the previous ceiling of ₹1 lakh). The scheme is expected to benefit 89 lakh farmers: 40 lakh will become debt-free; the remaining 49 lakh will be provided relief. Mr. Pawar said, “This is the government’s first step towards alleviating debt-ridden farmers. It is too soon for us [the NCP] to say whether it is effective or not… but the ground reality is that a section of farmer leaders are already dissatisfied with the government’s proposals.”The NCP chief said that the government had written off-debts up to ₹1.5 lakh for the period between April 1, 2012 and June 2016. “It ought to have done so till June 2017,” Mr. Pawar said.He said that the party’s second and long-term demand would be to seek the implementation of the recommendations of the M.S. Swaminathan Committee to make agriculture viable and stable. Mr. Pawar said, “It is high time the Centre seriously considers implementing it. The government was aware that there would be a record production of tur dal this year, yet it did not lift the ban on the export of pulses.”Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray during his tour in Nashik district said the loan waiver put forward by its coalition ally was “unsatisfactory”. He said, “The farm loan waiver is historic, but it is not satisfactory. We will continue to demand the implementation of the Swaminathan committee’s recommendations, including fair prices for onion farmers and waiving debts till June 2017.”last_img

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