Maharashtra to guarantee farm loans for those yet to get waiver

Move will benefit over 11 lakh farmers

In a first, the Maharashtra government will be the guarantor for farmers who could not benefit from the Mahatma Jyotirao Phule crop loan waiver scheme due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic. This will help farmers avail crop loans for the upcoming kharif season.

The move is expected to benefit over 11 lakh farmers across the State. A Government Resolution to give effect to this loan guarantee was issued on Friday, and conveyed to district central co-operative banks, commercial and rural banks.

“The government cannot immediately pay off the loans for these farmers. The crop loan waiver scheme was meant to make farmers’ account nil and prepare them to take new loans. Therefore, the State government has taken this decision,” said a Cooperation department official.

The government has given clear directions to banks to mention pending loan as “to be paid by the government” and to not consider the farmers as defaulters. “We have given instructions to make loans available for them for the kharif 2020 season,” said the official.

Shortly after assuming office in December last year, the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government had announced the Mahatma Jyotirao Phule crop loan waiver scheme which was to benefit 32 lakh farmers.

According to official data, around 19 lakh farmers in the State had benefited from the government scheme by March 31, with loans worth ₹12,000 crore being waived.

As the economy took a hard hit due to the nationwide lockdown, the State struggled to pay the outstanding loan amount of ₹8,100 crore to the remaining 11.12 lakh farmers.

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