Mumbai, Feb 24 (IANS) The Maharashtra government on Monday kickstarted the much-anticipated farm loan waiver scheme by releasing the first list of beneficiaries under the Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Shetkari Karjmukti Yojana, containing names of 15,358 farmers.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced the list of MJPSKY for 68 villages in the presence of Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and other ministers, leaders and officials.
While the second list of another 100,000 beneficiaries will be released on February 28, the entire scheme, “unconditionally” benefitting around five million farmers, is likely to be completed by April, Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swavlamban Mission President Kishore Tiwari told IANS.
The government has collected the bank account details of nearly 35,00,000 farmers for the loan waiver up to Rs 200,000 and the beneficiaries shall be issued certificates to the effect, said Pawar, who is also the Finance Minister.
“We have selected two villages from every district to test the efficiency of our system through which the entire crop loan waiver scheme will be implemented. The money will be transferred directly into the loan accounts of the farmers,” he said.
Until now, the money used to be transferred to the State Cooperation Department which would then route it to the farmers loan accounts through the district Deputy Registrars.
Pawar said that the time-consuming exercise has been bypassed and the state government will now directly transfer the money into the farmers loan accounts.
Thackeray had announced the MJPSKY scheme last December for which the state government on Monday tabled a list of supplementary demands of Rs 24,000 crore for 2019-2020, including Rs 15,000 crore towards the farm loan waiver scheme.
However, the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party termed the announcement of beneficiaries as an eyewash and alleged it has again taken the farmers for a ride.
Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis demanded a discussion on the issue of the farmers not getting the full benefits of the loan waiver and staged noisy protests outside the assembly before the start of the first day’s proceedings of the Budget Session.
In the house, BJP members criticised the measure, saying only 20,000 farmers in just 68 villages are beneficiaries of the loan waiver scheme, stormed towards the Speaker’s podium and raised slogans against the government.