Only Rs 25 crore sanctioned for farmer loans-AsianAge
Of the Rs 2,000 crore that was announced to be used to restructure farmer loans taken from district cooperative banks, the state government has made provision for just Rs 25 crore.
The Maharashtra Co-operative Bank (MSC) has taken aggressive stand that it will not allocate loans to the farmers till the state releases 15 per cent fund as its share to the MSC Bank.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, in a review meeting of the kharif season, announced that before 15 June, all district cooperative banks would be provided with financial assistance of a total of Rs 2,000 crore from the state. This would be done to ensure the DCC banks allocate loans to the farmers.
“The CM had also instructed banks to convert short term crop loan into medium term loan. However, the MSC Bank refused to provide funds to district central cooperative (DCC) banks,” said a senior official from cooperative ministry on condition of anonymity.
DCC banks receive funds from MSC Bank and which in turn gets financial assistance from National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard).
Nabard contributes 60 per cent as its share to MSC Bank whereas the state government has to provide 15 per cent as its share.
The official said that MSC bank has withheld providing funds to DCC banks until Nabard and state government deposits its share to them.
“In the last 15 years, the state did not contribute its share and ultimately MSC Bank had to suffer the burden. That’s the reason, this time, the administrator board has denied help to DCC banks,” he said.
When Opposition had critisised the state government over its handling of crop loans, the state had decided to release Rs 25 crore as its share of 15 per cent to six DCC banks. The banks include Yavatmal, Chandrapur, Akola, Parbhani, Aurangabad and Dhule-Nandurbar DCC banks.
The highest amount of Rs 16 crore has been allocated to the DCC bank at Yavatmal, which is a region fraught with cases of farmer suicide.
“The Rs 25 crore that has been sanctioned will be transfered to MSC Bank against conversion of short term agriculture loan into medium term loan. Later, MSC Bank will release funds to the enlisted DCC banks,” said the official.
Meanwhile, Kishor Tiwari, social activist from Nagpur said that due to the delay in providing fund to DCC banks, more than 18 lakh farmers from western Vidarbha region were denied crop loans by the DCC banks.
“The government’s apathetic stand has resulted into maximum farmland remaining uncultivated as farmers have no money to purchase seeds and fertilizers,” said Mr Tiwari.
Denying this criticism, minister for agriculture Eknath Khadse said that the government would take care of all farmers across the state.
“We have decided to provide financial assistance of Rs 44,000 crore to the farmers by way of crop loan from DCC and nationalised banks. The state is aware that 55 lakh farmers need agriculture loan every year and we will take care of it,” said Mr Khadse.
He further added, “Not a single farmer will be denied crop loan by any bank, we have given instructions to nationalised banks regarding this as well.”