Although the Maharashtra government had announced Rs 34,022 crore farm loan waiver scheme in June this year, the debt write-off is unlikely to cost over Rs 25,000 crore owing to several “filters” applied for the selection of beneficiaries, an official said today. Talking to PTI, a senior official from the state cooperation department said that the criteria set for the selection have brought down the number of beneficiaries. “On June 24, the government had announced loan waiver scheme for 89 lakh farmers in the state. It had also announced that it would pay up to Rs 25,000 to the farmers, who have been repaying their loans regularly.
The total cost of the scheme was estimated to be as high as Rs 34,000 crore,” the official said. However, with several filters being used by the government, the maximum outreach of the scheme would be around Rs 25,000 crore, he said. As per the criteria, the government had decided to select only one beneficiary from a family. Also, the scheme was meant for those farmers, who have agriculture as their only source of income. All the elected representatives from Zilla Parishad (ZP) level and above, pensioners, employees of the government and semi-government establishments have been excluded from the list of beneficiaries.
“These filters reduced the number of actual beneficiaries drastically. People having multiple sources of income should not get the benefits of loan waiver as agriculture is not their only source of income. “A couple of lakh farmers would not be selected because of these filters. Hence, the actual amount of loan waiver is going to be much lower than that of Rs 34,000 crore. It won’t exceed Rs 25,000 crore,” the officer said.
The BJP-led Maharashtra government on July 24 had tabled supplementary demands, including a demand of Rs 20,000 crore to be used for loan waiver and the demand was subsequently approved during the monsoon session. The Maharashtra government on October 18 had distributed certificates to some farmers as a token of loan waiver scheme implementation and claimed that it would reach out to every single eligible farmer in the state.