New norm will benefit 5 lakh farmers, but add fiscal burden of Rs 1,000 crore.
Nagpur: The state government has removed ‘family’ as a condition for eligibility to avail farm loan waiver up to rs 1.5 lakh, as a result of which now each family member with separate loan liabilities can benefit from the waiver. This will allow an additional five lakh farmers to benefit from the scheme, which, in turn, is likely to saddle the government with a burden of Rs 1,000 crore, according to minister of cooperation Subhash Deshmukh. The state government has relaxed the criteria related to family after political pressure.
After more than a year since the farmers’ loan waiver scheme was announced, the government has finally relaxed the condition related to ‘family’.
According to the terms and conditions, even though husband, wife and two minor children have more than one loan account, they were eligible for a waiver of up to only Rs 1.5 lakh. If the loans were more than this amount, they had to pay the balance amount first and then avail benefit of up to Rs 1.5 lakh under the one-time settlement scheme.
However, now farmers would get benefits on multiple individual loan accounts within a single family. The decision would benefit over 5 lakh farmers, but add a fiscal burden of over rs 1,000 crore#.
The government had cleared a list of 51.12 lakh farmers’ names for the loan waiver and incentive scheme for which Rs 22,000 crore had been allotted. Out of this, Rs 15,500 crore has been deposited in some 38.53 lakh loan accounts.
Eight lakh farmers have pending loans of more than Rs 1.5 lakh. They have been asked to pay up the balance amount to benefit from the waiver. However, with this condition the response has been tepid and only one lakh farmers have availed of the waiver.
According to sources, the decision that resulted after immense political pressure from the Opoosition would bolster the BJP’s image ahead of the crucial upcoming elections.