State to provide interest-free crop loans up to ₹3 lakh

Appreciating the hard work put in by farmers to keep the State’s economy afloat during the pandemic, State Finance Minister Ajit Pawar in his Budget speech on Monday announced a slew of schemes for farmers.

Mr. Pawar said zero-interest crop loans up to ₹3 lakh would be provided to farmers who repay loans on time. “This scheme will take off from the upcoming kharif season,” he said.

The Finance Minister also announced a ₹2,000-crore scheme for strengthening agricultural produce market committees. Mr. Pawar said the Maha Vikas Aghadi government backed the farmers demanding the repealing of the Centre’s three new farm laws. The agriculture sector was the only one in the State to register positive growth in 2020-21.

Mr. Pawar said the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited will be given a share capital of ₹1,500 crore every year to provide electricity connections to agriculture pumps.

Concession on power bills

He announced a 33% concession for farmers with pending electricity bills who clear 50% of their arrears by March 2022. The additional 50% of the bill would be waived, he said. “A total of ₹30,411 crore will be waived, which amounts to 66% of the original pending bills of 44.37 lakh farmers,” he said.

The Budget has allocated ₹2,100 crore for the creation of markets and value chain projects under the ‘Hon’ble Balasaheb Thackeray Agribusiness and Rural Transformation Project.’

The Budget proposed to set up at least one new nursery in each taluka. About 500 new Punyashlok Ahilya Devi Holkar vegetable nurseries will be developed under the scheme. A total of ₹600 crore will be provided to four agricultural universities to promote research.

Under the Sharad Pawar Gram Samrudhi Yojana, grants will be provided to rural beneficiaries for construction of cowsheds, poultry sheds and composting.

The Late Gopinath Munde Sugarcane Workers Corporation is proposed to charge ₹10 per tonne of sugarcane crushed as a contribution by sugar factories. The State will also contribute an equal amount to fund schemes under this corporation.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2021 6:12:42 PM |

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