Free Press Journal

Bring farmers into credit system, CM to Centre

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Fadnavis has a hard time in both the Assembly and Council as Oppn parties target him over the loan waiver issue.

Mumbai : Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday said he had positive discussions with the Centre over formulating a scheme to bring back farmers defaulting on loans, into the institutional credit system in such a way that investment in agriculture is not affected.

Making a statement in the Legislative Assembly, Fadnavis said he had assured Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Agriculture Minister Radhamohan Singh that the state was willing to contribute its share in this scheme to help farmers.


Fadnavis said out of the 1.36 crore farmers, 31 lakh had loan dues worth Rs 30,500 crore. “These farmers are not eligible for fresh loans. There is a need to bring them back into the institutional credit system. But we have to give an incentive to over one crore farmers who pay their loans on time. Systems need to be created as such decisions cannot be taken overnight.

If farmers who pay their loan on time get a message that if loan dues are not repaid, the loan will be waived off, then the banking system will collapse,” the CM said. “A wrong message will be sent among agriculturists,” felt Fadnavis.

He said his government’s endeavour is to ensure that the farmers are not debt-ridden again. Fadnavis also took a jibe at Opposition Congress-NCP saying, “you cannot be a messiah of farmers by raising slogans on loan waiver. The plight of farmers is because of your 15-year rule.”

Earlier as soon as the House assembled for the day, the Opposition accompanied by Sena members came into the Well shouting slogans for loan waiver.

Speaker Haribhau Bagde immediately adjourned the House till the end of the Question Hour. Later when the House assembled, Fadnavis made his statement and appealed to the House to allow smooth presentation of the State Budget.

Meanwhile, making a statement in the State Legislative Council, amidst uproar from Opposition parties who refused to relent until a loan waiver is announced, Fadnavis said loans are not the only reason behind farmer suicides.

“Farmers are not only committing suicide because they are burdened with loans. They require a proper source of income, water and electricity for their produce,” he said.

Fadnavis said, “Our government want to make farmers debt-free but loan waiver is not the only solution to stop the rising number of deaths in the State. He further said, “The investment in the agricultural sector has to be increased and so the government is emphasising more on irrigation, power, rural communication, processing, technology and other things. The farmers have to be more powerful. Therefore, with investment into the agricultural sector the income of farmers would increase by 2021.”

He also alleged, “The Opposition party members are just playing politics in the name of loan waiver to farmers. Instead of sitting for discussion they are raising slogans and laughing which is a mockery of farmers.”

Fadnavis also assured that the state government is ready to bear all burden for the betterment of farmers. “Not just due to the burden of loan but also due to natural calamities the farmers take serious steps of suicide therefore, investment into agricultural sector and providing all necessary schemes, provisions would help the farmers.”

He also mentioned along with him a team of Ministers from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena met Prime Minster Narendra Modi for loan waiver to farmers and the Centre’s contribution to it.

OPPN SLAMS BUDGET

Earlier, the BJP-led state government presented the financial budget for the fiscal year 2017-18. However, the budget presentation saw acrimonious shouts from the opposition parties, vehemently demanding loan waiver for the farmers and the rising suicides in the state.

The members shouted slogans and sang bhajans in the Legislative Council throughout the presentation of the budget. The opposition parties held the government responsible for not understanding the grave situation of the farmers. Sunil Tatkare, legislator of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) prevented Deepak Kesarkar, the State Finance Minister from Shiv Sena from reading out the state budget in the Council. They demanded a reply from the government for not making provisions for farmers in the budget. Tatkare also accused the government of not considering waiving off the farmers’ loans and the other members from the opposition parties told Kesarkar they would not allow him to proceed.

Tatkare mentioned in the Legislative Council, “Since last nine days the Sena, an alliance party in the BJP government was against their own government and demanding loan waiver for farmers.  Therefore the Sena minister now has no right to present the budget which does not have the provisions for farmers. They have lost the opportunity to defend this govenrment.”

However, Kesarkar continued reading the budget in the legislative council wherein the opposition party members tore papers, raised slogans and put up banners against him.

Dhananajay Munde, Leader of Opposition in the Upper House from NCP accused the government of taking the people for a ride regarding making the state toll-free. “Though the BJP government had claimed to make Maharashtra toll free, the budget indicates otherwise.”