Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today said he had positive discussions with the Centre over formulating a scheme to bring back farmers defaulting on loans, into the institutional credit system in such a way that investment in agriculture is not affected. Making a statement in the Legislative Assembly, Fadnavis said he had assured Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley and Agriculture minister Radhamohan Singh that the state was willing to contribute its share in this scheme to help farmers. Fadnavis said out of the 1.36 crore farmers, 31 lakh had loan dues worth Rs 30,500 crore. "These farmers are not eligible for fresh loans. There is a need to bring them back into the institutional credit system. But we have to give an incentive to over one crore farmers who pay their loans on time. Systems need to be created as such decisions cannot be taken overnight. If farmers who pay their loan on time get a message that if loan dues are not repaid, the loan will be waived off, then the banking system will collapse," the CM said. "A wrong message will be sent among agriculturists," Fadnavis felt. He said his government's endeavour is to ensure that the farmers are not debt-ridden again. Fadnavis also took a jibe at Opposition Congress-NCP saying, "you cannot be a messiah of farmers by raising slogans on loan waiver.
The plight of farmers is because of your 15-year rule."
Earlier as soon as the House assembled for the day, the Opposition accompanied by Sena members came into the Well shouting slogans for loan waiver.
Speaker Haribhau Bagde immediately adjourned the House till the end of the Question Hour.
Later when the House assembled, Fadnavis made his statement and appealed to the House to allow smooth presentation of the State Budget.
Bagde then adjourned the House till 2 pm.
(REOPENS BES 2) Meanwhile, making a statement in the State Legislative Council, amidst uproar from Opposition parties who refused to relent until a loan waiver is announced, Fadnavis said loans are not the only reason behind farmer suicides. "Farmers are not only committing suicide because they are burdened with loans. They require a proper source of income, water and electricity for their produce," he said. He said the government is already working for the cause of farmers through schemes like Jalyukta Shivar and Krushi Samruddhi project, funded by the World Bank. "If the Opposition is truly concerned with the plight of farmers, they should listen to the Budget, what does it offer to farmers and wait for the Centre to come to a conclusion. A decision like loan waiver cannot be taken in one day," the CM said. As the din continued with Opposition members shouting slogans in the Well of the House demanding a loan waiver, Council Chairman Ramraje Nimbalkar adjourned the House till 2 pm. Earlier, as the House assembled for the day, Leader of Opposition Dhananjay Munde said that suicides are continuing unabated and over 9,000 farmers across the state have ended their lives in last two years. "It is condemnable that the government is not considerate towards the plight of farmers. The CM talks about Centre being positive towards helping farmers but their own Agriculture minister (Radhamohan Singh) says a loan waiver will be only given to Uttar Pradesh," Munde said. Munde further said that possibly, the BJP-led government is also fooling its ally Shiv Sena along with the farmers.