Maharashtra farm loan waiver: Early on Saturday, after a meeting with representatoives of farmers, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced a Rs 30,000 crore waiver that would help 34 lakh small and marginal farmers in the state. The CM had claimed that it was the ‘biggest-ever’ such waiver. The loan waiver, which CM Fadnavis had promised to clear recently, will help help farmers of the Western Maharashtra the most, Indian Express report said.
During the three-day strike, one of the major demands of the farmers was the loan waiver, which Fadnavis accepted with a rider. The state government has agreed for waiver to marginal farmers, who constitute about 79 percent of the active agricultural population in Maharashtra.
As per report, loan waiver is likely to help them tide over ongoing credit crisis, which is one of the big reasons for farmer suicides which has been one of the biggest issues the state has been grappling with since a long time.
The analysis of land holding data from the Agricultural Census 2010-11 suggests that Maharashtra’s well-irrigated districts like Satara, Pune, Satara, Kolhapur, Sangli and Solapur have most number of marginal farmers in the state. Of 56,12,246 in Maharashtra, about 18,73,156 marginal farmers come from this region. Vidarbha and Marathwada a have 9,04,959 and 125,9,430 such farmers. As per the paper, farmers with land holding, not more than 2.5 acres are considered marginal farmers.
Popularity of cash crop and access to irrigation resulted in legal division of land in western part of the state. Since the agriculture is lucrative, families in this part of the state tend to get land divided among themselves. Land holdings in Vidarbha and Marathwada, on the other hand, tend to be large as agriculture is not considered lucrative. As the population density is less than Western Maharashtra, land holdings continue to be large in these parts of the state.
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Ironically, the region, which as hardly seen any farmer’s suicide, will benefit more from the land waiver rather than areas which are affected by farm distress. Kishore Tiwari, chairman of Maharashtra government’s committee on farmer’s distress pointed out that waiver would mean that close to Rs 20,000 crores would be waived off, Indian Express report said further.