Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray today said his party would not shy away from “exposing” the BJP-led Maharashtra government if it fails to execute the loan waiver scheme properly. Thackeray, whose party is also a part of the ruling coalition in the state, claimed his outfit was the first to demand debt waiver and rued that Maharashtra continues to top in farmer suicides. “It was the Shiv Sena which first raised its voice for loan waiver for farmers, when Sharad Pawar was the Union agriculture minister. “Maharashtra was on top in farmer suicides and unfortunately it is still at the top. This was not the area where our state should have been at the top,” he said in an interview to his party’s mouthpiece ‘Saamana’. “Hence, the farmers should be debt-free was my demand,” he said.
“I have even asked the Shiv Sena workers to beat the drums outside the banks (as part of an agitation) and make them display the list of beneficiaries. “We will not shy away from exposing the state government if it fails to execute the loan waiver scheme properly,” Thackeray said. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had on June 24 announced the loan waiver of Rs 34,022 crore after a state-wide agitation by farmers earlier last month. On July 9, Fadnavis said the entire debt of around 36 lakh farmers will be written-off under the scheme. Thackeray said, “I want to see the names of 36 lakh farmers whose entire loan is going to be waived, in the state Assembly.” Fadnavis earlier said that there are 1.34 crore farmers in Maharashtra, of whom 90 lakh have availed crop loan. Out of them, 89 lakh farmers are eligible for the loan waiver scheme announced by the state government.
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Of the total 89 lakh beneficiaries, nearly 44 lakh farmers would get the maximum benefit of the scheme. Of these 44 lakh, the entire debt of 36 lakh farmers, who have an outstanding loan of up to Rs 1.50 lakh, would be completely waived, the chief minister had said. The remaining farmers, whose outstanding loan amount is slightly more than Rs 1.50 lakh, can also avail the benefit by paying the difference above Rs 1.50 lakh cap, he had said. “The state has said that the entire loan of 36 lakh farmers will be waived while 89 lakh farmers will benefit from the scheme. I want to see the names and I have asked the party workers to find out those farmers as well,” Thackeray said. While announcing the loan waiver for marginal farmers in the state, the government had also promised Rs 10,000 initial loan assistance at the start of the Kharif season.
Thackeray said, “The government came up with a concept of providing Rs 10,000 per farmer till the loan waiver scheme is being worked out. The financial assistance was announced as a relief to farmers who may need it to purchase seeds and fertilisers.” “It is more than a month and some 2,500 farmers have only opted for it. If such a situation is not chaos, then what it is? And if you talk about loan waiver, no bank has so far received clear instructions about loan waiver,” he said.