The Maha Vikas Aghadi government’s scheme of farm loans waiver—implementation of which started last week—has now been caught in a controversy, owing to the difference between what the government had promised and what the banks are actually offering.
NewsClick accessed the copy of a circular issued by the state-level banker committee. In its report, the committee says, “The commercial banks have taken haircut in Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Sanman Yojana 2017 (it was announced then by the BJP government) loan waiver scheme. The SLBC was asked to deliberate on the issue of applying NPA accounts which will be covered under Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Shetkari Karjamukti Yojana 2019 (announced by MVA government). They were suggested to consider the application of NPA formula which was agreed by them for the loan waiver scheme 2017 (sic).”
As per the NPA formula given in the circular, the farmers won’t get a total waiver for loan of even up to Rs 2 lakh. For NPAs until July 31, 2017, the waiver will amount to 85% and 70% for the loans until March 31, 2016. For loans before March 31, 2015, waiver will account to only 55%.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had said during the Nagpur session in December 2019 that the dream of farmers to be loan-free will become a reality under his government.
“This is cheating. We were demanding complete loan waiver from day one. Now, it is clear that the farmers with loans under Rs 2 lakh also won’t get a complete waiver. Even if there is pressure from the banks, government should not succumb to it. When the banks can write off the loans of mega corporates and that too without applying this NPA norm, then why can’t they do it for farmers?” asked Dr Ajit Nawale, a leader of All India Kisan Sabha.
The most crucial criticism of the scheme focuses on the fact that it will not help the farmers who had loans of more than Rs 2 lakh. But the government has assured these farmers that it plans to bring another scheme for them too. However, there has been no announcement so far.