In a record two months since the announcement on December 21 last year, the Maha Vikas Aghadi government on Monday released the first list of 15,358 beneficiaries from 68 villages under the much ambitious crop loan waiver scheme named after social activist Mahatma Jyotiba Phule. The government will release the second list on February 28 and it aims to complete the loan waiver process in March, April and May covering 34,83,908 accounts of farmers with a loan up to Rs 2 lakh with the cut off date of September 30 last year.
The government is confident that the money will be deposited in the loan account of 15,358 beneficiaries by Friday. The government has roped in the National Payment Corporation of India to transfer the money directly to the commercial banks and in case of district central cooperative bank through a branch office of the concerned bank.
The government, in order to avoid embezzlement or misuse of money, has strictly collected loan accounts which are Aadhaar linked. Those accounts, which were not linked, the farmers were given time to do so in January.
The district collectors have started distribution of receipts to the beneficiaries from today onwards. One receipt is seeking the confirmation from the farmers that they agree to the loan amount to be waived while another receipt will give any opportunity if the farmer disagrees then that can be corrected by the district collector so the right amount is deposited in the loan account.
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who holds the department of planning and finance, said the government selected two villages from every district to test the efficiency of the administration which will be solely responsible for effective implementation of crop loan waiver. The money will be transferred directly into the loan account of the farmers.
Pawar said earlier the money used to go to the state cooperation commissioner who used to transfer it to the loan accounts of the farmers through district deputy registrar. ''However, the government has taken a conscious decision to bypass this existing system by transferring the money directly into the loan accounts of farmers,'' he noted.
MVA government and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, in particular, have sent out a clear message to the opposition BJP that it does not merely talk but fulfil promises within a record time. Further, Thackeray, who is strongly supported by NCP and Congress, also hinted that they mean business and are prepared to go the extra mile to help farmers in distress by curtailing red-tapism. Incidentally, the government has earmarked Rs 15,000 crore in the supplementary demands tabled on Monday in the legislature in addition to Rs 10,000 crore under the Contingency Fund for the time-bound implementation of crop loan waiver scheme.
Department of cooperation and marketing officer recalled that the Rs 34,000 crore loan waiver scheme launched in July 2017 by the BJP-led government was marred by the complexity of eligibility conditions and staggered payment of money from the government to the banks. Farmers queued up to file digital applications to get the benefit. ''However, in the present loan waiver scheme, the data was collected in complete coordination with the banks to avoid inconvenience to the farmers,'' he informed.