On Saturday, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced a farm loan waiver scheme in the state. Under the new ‘Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Farmer Loan Waiver Scheme’, the government will waive off the outstanding debts of farmers taken till September 30, 2019, up to Rs.2 lakh. The scheme will commence in March. However, the opposition walked out of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly despite this announcement as their demand for a complete loan waiver was not met by the government.
"गोरगरीब शेतकऱ्यांना ज्यांचे कर्ज ३० सप्टेंबर २०१९ पर्यंत थकीत आहे, ते सर्व थकीत कर्ज २ लाखापर्यंत हे सरकार त्या कर्जातून त्याला मुक्ती देत आहे. महात्मा ज्योतिराव फुले शेतकरी कर्जमुक्ती योजना ही आज मी या सभागृहात जाहीर करतो आहे."— Office of Uddhav Thackeray (@OfficeofUT) December 21, 2019
-मुख्यमंत्री मा. श्री. उद्धव बाळासाहेब ठाकरे pic.twitter.com/Ko1lWel8TL
In the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) formulated by the Maha Vikas Aghadi comprising Sena, NCP and Congress, a separate section was dedicated to the farmers. Immediate help was promised to the farmers affected by the unseasonal rain and floods. Other steps such as ensuring remunerative prices for farm produce as well as revision of the crop insurance scheme were listed. Most importantly, the CMP stated that the government was committed to an immediate loan waiver to farmers. The delay in fulfilling this promise led to widespread outcry from BJP with former CM Devendra Fadnavis leading the charge on this issue.
Addressing the media after the first cabinet meeting of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government on November 28, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had elaborated on the decisions taken by the Cabinet. Contrary to expectations, he did not make an immediate announcement about the farm loan waiver. Maintaining that he wanted to help the farmers in a full-fledged manner, Thackeray said that the Chief Secretary had been asked to provide a reality check of the implementation of various schemes for farmers until now.
Thackeray remarked, "It is natural that the havoc caused by the unnatural rains in the last few days has devastated the farmers. I and my colleagues have met the farmers. I have directed the Chief Secretary to present the real picture of whatever has been done for the farmers till today. I don’t want to be half-hearted when I help the farmers. I want to go full-fledged and help the farmers. I want to see a smile on every farmer’s face. We will take whatever decision has to be taken with a firm resolve.”