Western Maha gets bigger pie of farm loan waiver
Makarand Gadgil / Mumbai January 12, 2009, 0:42 IST
The Maharashtra government’s recent farm loan waiver package has once again given maximum benefit to the relatively prosperous western Maharashtra region compared to Vidarbha and Marathwada where the agrarian crisis is the worst, claim farm right activists.
They say out of the Rs 6,200-crore waiver package, nearly Rs 3,000 crore is going to go to western Maharashtra, whereas poor Vidarbha and Marathwada are going to get only Rs 1,000 crore and Rs 1,800 crore, respectively.
One of the major reasons why the state government was forced to announce the farm loan waiver package was social activists, political leadership and media who cried foul as Rs 71,000-crore farm loan waiver package benefited western Maharashtra the most. The largest number of farmer suicides were reported from the six cotton growing districts of the Vidarbha region.
Western Maharashtra benefitted maximum under the central government’s package as the region has better irrigation facilities, which allows farmers to cultivate cash crops like sugarcane which get higher loan compared to dry land crops like cotton and as land holding is much smaller in western Maharashtra compared to Vidarbha, many more farmers were benefitted by the central government’s scheme.
According to the state government, under the central scheme, Rs 2,500 crore was waived in western Maharashtra, Rs 1,900 crore in Marathwada, Rs 1,600 crore in Vidarbha, Rs 1,400 crore in northern Maharashtra and Rs 400 crore in the Konkan region.
Under the state government’s farm loan waiver package, loan of all the farmers having land more than 5 acres up to Rs 20,000 have been completely waived.
Farmers who have taken a loan of more than Rs 20,000 each will have to pay only what is above that amount. This benefit was also extended to all farmers who have repaid their loans in the past and got loan for the last khariff season.