As per the final list made by State Level Bankers Committee (SLBC), about 67 lakh farmers will benefit from state government’s loan waiver scheme. However, this number is still around 3 lakh less than the number of farmers who benefited from the loan waiver during the Congress-NCP regime in 2008-09. “The final list of farmers for the loan waiver, along with accounts provided by the State Level Bankers Committee to us stands at 67 lakh,” a highly placed source in the government told The Indian Express, raising the question if the previous government had extended the waiver to non-deserving farmers as well. Other senior officials said that the matter should be investigated.
“If we have to provide loan waiver to 67 lakh farmers in 2017, how could 70 lakh farmers qualify for loan waiver in 2008-09,” an official involved in the loan waiver process said. Arguing that the loan waiver during the Congress-NCP rule was restricted to farmers with a land holding of less than five acres, and hence covered less farmers than the present waiver, he said the matter would have to be probed to streamline the system.
“The loan waiver guidelines issued by the Devendra Fadnavis government caters to a larger segment of farmers. The loan waiver up to Rs 1.5 lakh is being given to farmers irrespective of size of land holding. Also, farmers who regularly repaid loans are being considered for an incentive of Rs 25,000. Thus, compared to the Congress-NCP government, the Fadnavis government’s loan waiver is more expansive. Yet, validated farmers do not exceed 67 lakh. The Congress-NCP extended loans to 70 lakh farmers, which needs to be probed,” another senior official was quoted saying in the report.
After learning about this difference in the figures, the Maharashtra government asked the Centre to bring some reforms, both in financial institutions and nodal bank NABARD, to bring greater accountability and transparency in the process of crop loan disbursement from 2018-19 onwards.