Maharashtra CM Devendra Padnavis ready for talks on loan waiver for farmers; opposition unrelenting

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Mumbai | Updated: March 15, 2017 10:27:19 PM

"Entire legislature supports the demand yet the government is not ready to make announcement. Until the government announces a complete loan waiver, the opposition would not allow any business for the day," Leader of Opposition Dhananjay Munde said.

During question hour, Leader of Opposition Dhananjay Munde (NCP) said the opposition was demanding complete loan waiver for farmers for the seventh day in a row. (Reuters)

Maharashtra Cooperation Minister Chandrakant Patil today informed the Legislative Council that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was ready to discuss the issue of farm loan waiver, but the opposition members demanded that government immediately announce the decision. During question hour, Leader of Opposition Dhananjay Munde (NCP) said the opposition was demanding complete loan waiver for farmers for the seventh day in a row. “Entire legislature supports the demand yet the government is not ready to make announcement. Until the government announces a complete loan waiver, the opposition would not allow any business for the day,” Munde said.

After the Council Chairman Ramraje Naik-Nimbalkar asked him to make a statement, Cooperation Minister and Leader of the House Chandrakant Patil said the government never said it was opposed to loan waiver. “It is a big decision….There has to be calculations as to how much money is needed, the burden on the treasury and how much help should the state seek from the Centre,” he said. Karnataka government had sent a proposal to the Centre seeking assistance for a farm loan waiver, he said, adding, “the government cannot take a decision of this nature abruptly.” A meeting of Chief Minister and the group leaders in the Council could be held soon, and Fadnavis was ready for a debate on the issue, Patil said.

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Senior NCP MLC Sunil Tatkare lashed out at the government for not doing the homework necessary for taking the decision. Calling the government anti-farmer, he demanded that opposition’s adjournment motion on the issue be put to vote. This was followed by uproar and the Chairman adjourned the proceedings for fifty minutes. When the proceedings resumed, Tatkare again demanded voting.

Munde said the government now estimated that it would need Rs 30,000 crore for the loan waiver, while earlier it had said the scheme would need Rs 15,000-18,000 crore. Was the government waiting for this figure to rise further to Rs 45,000 crore, he asked. He also rejected Patil’s offer of a meeting with the Chief Minister, and reiterated that opposition will not allow the House to function till a complete loan waiver for farmers was announced. Amid uproar, the Chairman put the motion of thanks for Governor’s address to vote, which was passed by a voice vote. The proceedings were then adjourned for the day.

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