Maharashtra follows MP, UP; declares relief to farmers up to 1.5 lakh

Mumbai: The BJP-led Maharashtra government on Saturday announced a major farm loan waiver scheme that will see debt of up to Rs 1.5 lakh per farmer being written off.

The scheme, announced by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at a press meet in Mumbai, involves Rs 34,000 crore of relief.

Named after Maratha warrior king Shivaji Maharaj, the programme will benefit 89 lakh farmers and make 40 lakh agriculturists debt-free, Fadnavis said.

Farmers in many parts of Maharashtra were on a warpath earlier in June, which disrupted supply of vegetables and other essentials to cities, including Mumbai.

They were demanding a loan waiver, which was backed by all political parties. The stir was called off after the government gave them a firm assurance on bringing in a comprehensive scheme to help the debt-pressed cultivators.

Earlier, the Maharashtra government had declared a loan waiver for all farmers with certain parameters on June 11 in order to bring about an end to the farmers’ agitation in the state.

It also formed a high-power ministerial committee to study and finalise the details of the waiver.

Mr Patil led this committee and it had met political leaders like Mr Pawar, Mr Chavan and Mr Thackeray in last 15 days.

Again on Friday, the government tried to convince the political leadership about the criteria for the waiver that it had decided on. According to Mr Patil, the government was ready to waive off the loans of farmers who failed to repay them by June 30, 2016.

At the same time, the waived-off amount would be up to Rs 1 lakh and not any more.

However, other political parties including alliance partner Shiv Sena was not ready to accept this. Other party leaders were calling for a complete loan waiver of farmers till June 30, 2017.

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