The Maharashtra government on Thursday has set up a 12-member committee chaired by NCP’s former legislator Vidya Chavan to study the Maharashtra Money Lending Act 2014 and suggest amendments for its proper and effective implementation.
The committee comprises legislators and representatives from the non-government organisations besides various departments. The committee is expected to submit a report in three months.
The announcement for the formation of a committee was made in the Winter Session of the state Legislature that took place in December 2019 at Nagpur. Chavan told Free Press Journal, “There has been demand to remove shortcomings in the Act through an amendment. It has been discussed both in and outside the state Legislature. Despite the implementation of Act, the exploitation of farmers through private money lenders continues unabated. It needs to be curbed and therefore, amendments are needed by incorporating more stringent provisions.”
Chavan said the Act applies to cases with regard to money lending since 1999 only which is for 15 years only. “There has been a demand cutting across party lines and from various organisations to increase it to 30 years or completely remove the time period as done in Madhya Pradesh. The committee will meet NCP state president Jayant Patil, who is the Water Resources Minister, and Cooperation Minister Balasaheb Patil on November 24 to discuss the proposed amendments to the Act.
According to the Act, those violating the provisions will attract five years’ imprisonment and fine up to Rs 50,000. Licensed money lenders will also attract a penalty of up to Rs 25,000 and imprisonment of up to one year. However, the government has to strive to take action against unauthorised money lenders for lack of record.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan recently announced that a law will be enacted to prevent money lenders from operating without license in the state.