Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's September 2019 cut-off for farm loan waiver draws flak

Updated: Dec 22, 2019, 07:30 IST | Dharmendra Jore | Nagpur

Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis says this means those who lost crops during October rains will not get relief, stages walkout.

Uddhav Thackeray also announced that the CMO would set up divisional HQs in six places across the state to ensure easier access
Uddhav Thackeray also announced that the CMO would set up divisional HQs in six places across the state to ensure easier access

Nagpur: Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has announced a farm loan waiver of up to Rs 2 lakh per person, which the Opposition decried as a breach of trust, saying it does not include assistance to farmers who suffered heavy losses in the unseasonal rains in October this year. He also announced a dream welfare scheme of a Rs 10 meal scheme to be launched initially at 50 places across the state.

The announcement came on the last day of the one-week winter session of the state legislature on Saturday. The previous government too had announced a Rs 38,000 crore farm loan waiver three years ago with a cap of Rs 1.50 lakh, which is still being implemented. The Maha Vikas Aghadi's scheme, named after social reformer Mahatma Phule, will be unconditional because the farmers will not need to apply online or produce documents. Like the Devendra Fadnavis government's earlier scheme, this loan waiver would not be applicable to public representatives and government employees. The scheme would be taken to farmers through a special publicity drive. The farmers who had taken loan before September 2019 would be eligible for the waiver.

Breach of trust: Fadnavis
Opposition leader in the Assembly, Fadnavis said the CM had breached the trust of farmers and also broken a promise that they would be given Rs 25,000 per hectare in immediate relief for the crop damage in October's unseasonal rains. "This is cheating because the farmers wanted a relief for crop damages for which they had taken loans. The governor had announced R8,000 crore (during the president's rule) and we believe this money had reached the farmers. The scheme announced today is sham," he said. Fadnavis said the CM had promised a complete loan waiver. "What happened to that? The CM had said that he want to make farmers distress free. Will this waiver end farmers' woes?" the former CM asked before staging a walk-out.

The Rs 10 thali
Shiv Sena's manifesto promise of giving people a meal for R10 was fulfilled on Saturday. Thackeray said the scheme would initially start at 50 places, including Mumbai. The scheme will be called Shiv Bhojan to commemorate Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. This scheme is a reminder of a previous Sena-BJP government's (1995-99) zunka bhakar meal scheme, and also the Shiv Vada Paav which was Sena's exclusive cart food project. The details of the thali scheme were not made available.

CMO at divisional HQs
Decentralising the CMO, Thackeray said that the CMO would have branches at six divisional headquarters. "I want to save travel time and money spent in coming to Mumbai. These will give people access to the CMO [closer home]," he said.

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