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No Farm Loan Waiver, Maha may Opt for Sops

April 17, 2017 07:23 AM

CORUSTEY Apr 17 2017 : The Economic Times (Mumbai)
No Farm Loan Waiver, Maha may Opt for Sops
Krishna Kumar

State govt working on giving a guaranteed price for the farm produce
Bucking the trend of farm loan waivers set in motion by Uttar Pradesh, the Maharashtra government has decided a better option would be to give subsidies or grants to farmers for installing infra facilities at their farms to boost efficiency by easing input costs.
“We are currently working on a policy whereby it would give grants or subsidies to farmers for say laying a network of pipelines for drip irrigation, or for any other project that boosts farm efficiency . This would also involve seeds and fertilizers. Basically , we are looking at the farmer having no input cost,“ a top state government official told ET.

One of the things being discussed is to give a guaranteed price for the farm produce.

“A farm loan waiver will mean a burden of around ` . 35,000 . 30,000 to ` crore for the state, while the loan that he owes to the banks is waived off, the farmer gets nothing, and here, what we are saying is that we can help him build a system to ensure that he is able to stand on his feet,“said a state government official.

“Once we pay up the ` . 35,000 crore to banks to waive off the farmers loan, there would be absolutely no money left with us to build any capital intensive project for the far mers. We would struggle to pay for ongoing irrigation projects. Not just for the farmers, there would be no money even to do any big infrastructure project anywhere in the state,“ said the official.

Maharashtra is loath to grant a loan waiver as the state's current debt is `. 3.54 lakh crore and that is projected to reach ` . 4.15 lakh crore next fiscal.

Even the current scheme of grants and subsidies being worked out is not going to come cheap. State government officials said back of the envelope calculations have shown even this would cost the state anywhere from ` . 10,000 crore.

. 7,000 to ` However officials said they would not grudge this amount as this will be actually used for farm improvement projects.A

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