Mumbai: The Maharashtra government on Friday announced plans to write off private loans availed from money-lenders by the state`s farming community.
Accordingly, around 2.23 lakh farmers from the Vidarbha and Marathwada regions who have totally taken loans worth an estimated Rs.156 crore plus interest of Rs.15 crore (thus totalling Rs.171 crore) are expected to be benefitted.
"We were delayed in waiving these loans due to various reasons.. we now now decided that the money taken, not only by farmers directly, but also in the name of their wives, sons, unmarried daughters, brothers and sisters will be waived of, provided nobody from the family works with the government," Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said in the legislative council.
The private loans, which now the government will pay off, are one of the triggering factors for the spate of farm suicides in the state, especially in the Vidarbha-Marathwada region.
NGO Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) president Kishore Tiwari said that an announcement to waive off private loans had been made even in December 2014, but nothing has been done so far.
"The problem is that the private money-lenders do not extend loans for agriculture purposes, but in disguised forms, like house construction, marriage, etc. So it will be difficult for the government officials to identify the farmers as per their criteria," he said.
Instead, he urged the government to take immediate measures to waive off the institutional loans taken by around nine million farmers which are easy to identify.