Public sector banks in Maharashtra have disbursed barely ten per cent of the crop loan targets set by the state government for the 2015-16 kharif season, it was alleged in a review meeting of bankers.
The review meeting convened by the Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swavalambi Mission (VNSSM) was held in Pune earlier this week. Members of the State Level Bankers Committee (SBLC) took part in the meeting.
Talking about what transpired at the meeting, noted farm activist and VNSSM chairman Kishore Tiwari said, the banks were asked to meet the crop loan targets.
“If any farmer commits suicide for not being given loans by these banks, the Mission will treat the case as culpable homicide and seek action against the concerned officer,” Tiwari said today.
“Nationalised banks are hostile to farmer issues and are working against farmers’ interests,” he claimed.
The state government recently waived the condition of submitting a no-objection certificate (NOC) from banks and societies while seeking fresh crop loans. The government has also decided to waive the stamp duty on the mortgage by farmers for availing crop loans.
Tiwari alleged that nationalised banks are not cooperating with farmers and are instead seeking search reports and compulsory mortgages from farmers.
“This means that distressed farmers will be forced to go back to money lenders and fall into debt traps again. There are several cases of officers going away on leave for long stretches, leaving farmers in the lurch, though they realise that they have been directed to meet crop loan targets,” he said.
Maharashtra government has set a target of disbursing Rs 53,282 crore worth crop loans to farmers in the state this season.
Of these, district cooperative banks are expected to disburse crop loans worth Rs 17,505 crore while Rs 29,151 crore is expected to be disbursed by commercial and other banks. The share of nationalised banks for crop loan targets has increased to 65 per cent from 30 per cent.