Maharashtra: Crop loan waiver to coast govt Rs 21, 216 crore
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Mumbai: Maha Vikas Aghadi government's outgo towards the crop loan waiver scheme will be Rs 21,216 crore. It will cover 30.57 lakh farmers with an outstanding loan of Rs 2 lakh with a cut-off date of September 30, 2019.

The state cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday gave its approval for its implementation from March so that these farmers will be eligible for a fresh loan for kharif season.

The crop loan waiver scheme is named after social reformer Mahatma Jyotirao Phule. Thackeray and finance minister Jayant Patil last week had announced that the government will not lay down any condition unlike the previous BJP-led government.

The farmers with an outstanding loan up to Rs 2 lakh will benefit, said Patil adding the waiver would be unconditional, and the CMO would communicate details in due course.

With cabinet approval, the constituents of Maha Vikas Aghadi government are set to fulfill their promise given during the state assembly election. MPs, state legislators and government employees will not receive the benefit of loan waiver. The scheme will cover farmers who cultivate fruit trees and sugarcane as well as conventional crops.

NCP minister Chhagan Bhujbal told FPJ, "The government will also bring in another scheme for farmers with a loan outstanding of more than Rs 2 lakh. Further, the government will introduce an incentive scheme for farmers who are regularly making the loan repayment.''

The previous government had launched the Rs 34,000 crore loan waiver in July 2017 which aimed to cover 89 lakh farmers. However, the number was reduced to 52 lakh after the government had imposed slew of conditions.

Till date the government has spent Rs 18,891 crore to waive loan outstanding of 44.23 lakh farmers. The BJP-led govenrment had earmarked a total of Rs 24,000 crore.

Rs 10 Shiv Bhojan too cleared

State cabinet also approved the ambitious Rs 10 meal scheme tilted Shiv Bhojan. Initially, the scheme will be implemented on an experimental basis through 50 centres across Maharashtra and in phases it will expand to 1,000 centres. The government has an estimated expenditure of Rs 6.48 crore for next three months.

NCP minister Chhagan Bhujbal told FPJ, "At every centre, 500 plates will be served between 12 noon to 2 pm. The plate will comprise two chapatis (30 gram), vegetable (100 gram), rice (150 gram) and dal (100 gram). The plate will incur a cost of Rs 35 in a rural area. While the customer will pay Rs 10, the remaining Rs 25 will be footed by

the government and passed on to the operator of the centre as grant. In cities like Mumbai and Pune, the plate will cost Rs 50 of which the government grant will be Rs 40 while for the customer it will be same Rs 10 as in rural belt.''

Bhujbal said the government will not provide any land but the one who wants to implement Shiv Bhojan scheme should have his own land.

''The government will select lunch homes, women help group, restaurants, canteens, non-government organisations. The meal will be available near railway and bus stations, markets, government offices which are generally crowded areas,'' he noted.

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