MUMBAI: Lodging a scathing attack on the opposition for stalling proceedings of the house for over a week, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday termed the opposition demand for crop loan waiver as politically motivated. He reiterated that his government was not opposed to farm loan waiver but wanted that the decision, when taken, benefit farmers instead of financial institutions.
CM’s statement also tamed the Shiv Sena, which was aggressive over the issue, paving the way for smooth functioning of the house till the budget is presented on Saturday.
“You have no right to ask for a loan waiver. Only BJP and Shiv Sena can ask for loan waiver. Your demand is out of political motives since you have been convincingly defeated in the recent polls across the state. Your are just shedding crocodile tears. We are not against loan waiver but we are deliberating on when and how it should be done,” Fadnavis said in a statement made at the assembly.
“About 1.36 crore farmers have taken loan worth Rs 1.14 lakh crore. Out of the total loan, Rs 31,057 crore is overdue and Rs 30,500 crore is outdated,” Fadnavis said.
While pointing out that the opposition has invested little in the agricultural infrastructure of the state during their rule of past 15 years, he said that since his government came to power, capital expenditure on agriculture and allied sector has gone up to Rs 19,434 crore. Another Rs 11,500 crore has been spent on crop insurance and assistance for natural calamities.
"I want the Opposition leaders to guarantee that if we waive off the outdated loan of `30,500 crore, there will be no single farmer suicide. Since the loan waiver of 2008-09, 16,000 farmers have committed suicide," Fadnavis said.
He said if loan waiver is announced, the government will have no money for investment in agriculture sector.
He also charged that the opposition wants the loan waiver to help district co-operative banks run by them and which are involved in irregularities.
Earlier, as the house met, the opposition raised the issue of loan waiver. Fadnavis's intervention came in after the second adjournment. He spoke was amid slogan shouting by the Congress-NCP legislators. Shiv Sena members, who had walked into the well earlier returned to their places in the house as Fadnavis made the government’s stand clear.
The Congress criticised the Chief Minister’s statement saying it was misleading and the government was interested in waiving off loans of industrialists.