The Vasantrao Naik Shetkari Svavlamban Mission (VNSSM), a farmers’ group in Vidrbha, has urged the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to urgently clear the Maharashtra government’s plan to extend fresh crop loans to farmers.
In a memorandum to RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan, VNSSM Chairman Kishore Tiwari said here on Tuesday the state wants to bring around 80 per cent debt-trapped farmers under bank loans to arrest farmland suicides in 14 of the worst-hit districts.
“However, the plan is going awry without RBI clearance, RBI’s apathy and hostile functioning of the public sector banks which hampers the state’s proposal to give fresh loans to previous defaulters since 2012,” Tiwari said.
Rajan is known for his stand on farm loans waiver or giving fresh direct credits in the agro-sector, and Tiwari said the latest bailout package will ensure institutional credit cover for the debt-hit farmers.
The state government has initiated several direct and indirect interventions covering various aspects concerning the 13.6 million registered defaulter farmers.
“As a major relief, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced crop loans to at least 80 per cent of these farmers by restructuring all pending crop loans since 2012 as per RBI norms,” Tiwari pointed out.
This has not taken off since the RBI says it is out of rules as revamping of four-year old loans is not allowed though the state government is keen to disburse maximum loans by June-end.
Making a strong case for the loan restructuring of around Rs 36,000 crore, the state government has told the RBI that these were no wilful defaulters and the proposal must be reconsidered.
“The VNSSM wants RBI to adopt a mature stand and immediately re-examine the issue to meet the target of bringing 80 per cent farmers under bank loan net by June 30 and help prevent suicides,” Tiwari said.