Responding to the Opposition’s attacks on his government, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday indirectly accepted that the implementation of the farm loan waiver scheme is yet to be completed, over a year after it was introduced.
Addressing the media on the eve of the monsoon session of the State legislature, Mr. Fadnavis said, “The government will stop only after the last farmer has benefited.” The Rs. 34,000-crore scheme was announced in June 2017 to waive loans of more than 89 lakh farmers.
Of these, the government has distributed Rs. 14,983 crore to only 38.52 lakh farmers as of now, as per the data presented by Mr. Fadnavis. “The rest have certain complexities in their cases ... We have also extended the scope of the scheme bringing farmers from 2001 to 2009 into its fold,” he said.
Mr. Fadnavis claimed that the performance of his government in the agriculture sector is far better than that of the previous Congress-NCP government. “Be it purchase of grains or extending monetary benefits to farmers, the government has done exceedingly well. We will reply to each allegation in the House,” he said. In 2008-09, the United Progressive Alliance government’s Rs. 11,000-crore loan waiver scheme had benefited over 70 lakh farmers.
Speaking about the lynching of five people in Dhule, Mr. Fadnavis said the police will initiate a public awareness campaign against rumours, with a special social media emphasis, and put up signboards at 230 places. “Forwarding inflammatory messages without verification also amounts to crime, and strict action will be taken against those responsible,” he said.
Responding to allegations of a prime plot in Navi Mumbai being sold to a builder at a throwaway price, Mr. Fadnavis said files related to allotting land to project-affected people do not come to his office, and decisions are taken at the collectorate level. “I will speak more on this if the matter comes to the House,” he said.