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Farm loan waivers not a possibility: Fadnavis
Pandurang Mhaske | Friday, 17 March 2017 AT 12:22 AM IST
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Mumbai: CM Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday indicated in the State assembly that the State government was not in a position to waive loans of farmers. However, the government will invest in agriculture infrastructure to make farmers self-reliant, he added.

The BJP’s alliance partner, the Shiv Sena, has been aggressive over the issue in the State assembly. Fadnavis made a statement on loan waiver in the Vidhan Sabha and indicated that immediate relief to farmers was not possible. The Shiv Sena was adamant and threatened that they would not allow the government to present the annual budget.

The CM said that the government was not against a loan waiver, but it will not solve the problem. “We are for a loan waiver. We should not just make an announcement but must ensure that farmers really benefit by this. Of the total 1.08 crore farmers who took loans, 31.57 lakh have defaulted. The total outstanding amount is Rs 30,500 crore. If the government decides to announce a complete loan waiver, Rs 30,500 crore is required. Instead, the government will spend Rs 19,434 crore on agriculture infrastructure,” Fadnavis said.  

Fadnavis said that if the government, which is already reeling under debts, announced a loan waiver, it will not be able to spend on development activities and also agriculture infrastructure will be affected. “We are not against a loan waiver, but when and how it should be given is what we want to think about,” said Fadnavis.

Speaking in the house, Fadnavis said the then government also waived loans earlier in 2009, but it didn’t help to solve the issue.

Around 1,600 farmers had committed suicide even after that. “Will farmers’ suicides stop after a loan waiver? Will the opposition take responsibility for this?” said the chief minister.

“Loan waiver is not a solution and we should empower farmers,” said Fadnavis. He said he will hold a meeting with Central ministers on the issue and then take a decision.

However, a united opposition, which wanted nothing less than a loan waiver, again stalled both the houses.
 
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