Maharashtra government to revise money lenders' bill
Maharashtra cabinet today decided to revise the Maharashtra Money Lending (Regulation) Bill 2010, following suggestions by the central government, which pointed out that the bill overlaps with provisions of many Union laws.
The legislation, which was meant to stop exploitation of farmers at the hands of rogue moneylenders, was sent back by the central government for the seventh time on August 8.
At today's cabinet meeting, chaired by chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, it was decided to make "necessary changes" in section 2(4) and section 2(13) of the bill and to issue an ordinance after the changes were approved by the Centre, an official said.
As per the changes, the terms "banking" and "company" have been clearly defined and the "savkar" (money lender) system has not been included as part of "banking" system, the official said.
The Centre reportedly asked the state to reconsider the Bill because it overlapped with several provisions of various central laws including the Reserve Bank of India Act, Companies Act and Banking Regulation Act.
The Bill was passed in April 2010 by the state legislature in the backdrop of distressed farmers committing suicide after being exploited by the moneylenders, who even carried out acts such as transferring the farmers' land in exchange of the loan amount.
The bill provided for a penalty of Rs 50,000 and five-year imprisonment for illegal money lending activities. Even licenced moneylenders who do not adhere to the statutory norms invited a penalty of Rs 25,000 and a year's imprisonment for a first-time offence. It also prevents a money lender from transferring land or agriculture land belonging to the farmers in his name.