A Maharashtra government appointed taskforce to address agrarian issues has suggested a five-point agenda to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, to bring atleast 80 per cent of farmers into the institutional credit net.
Vasantrao Naik Shetkari Swavalamban Mission, headed by agriculture expert Kishore Tiwari, has suggested that Fadnavis direct collectors of 14 suicide-prone districts of Vidarbha and Marathwada region to start a crop loan helpline, the details of which be published in leading newspapers and the action taken report be submitted to VNSSM.
He also suggested to set up village and taluka-level crop loan committees comprising of ground staff and sarpanch which will prepare a list of hardships being faced by credit-starved farmers.
“Tehsildars, block development officers, taluka agriculture officers and other government and bank officers along with the local MLA should be a part of the committee. They should be empowered to take corrective action so that a smooth crop loan disbursement is done,” Tiwari said.
He further said all banks should put big flex boards requesting farmers to come for fresh crop loans, and contact numbers of all senior bank officials, the district collector and the VNSSM chairman should be displayed prominently.
Tiwari said banks which do not comply with government norms of disbursing loans should be sent notice for criminal action and list of such banks should be sent to RBI for further action.
He also demanded that district collector should appoint a nodal officer for each bank branch who would be required to provide a daily update of crop loan disbursement.
“If banks do not act fast and provide crop loans, 50 per cent of farmers would be forced to borrow from private lenders at higher rates or abandon sowing altogether.
“If timely action of restructuring old dues and granting fresh loans is not taken, farmers would not be able to take advantage of a good monsoon expected this year,” Tiwari said in his letter to Fadnavis.