Interest-free harvest loan: 35 lakhs of farmers will benefit, the program will cost Rs 1,200 cr
The government of Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) announced on Monday that farmers would benefit from interest-free agricultural loans up to Rs 3 lakh. More than 35 lakh farmers are likely to benefit from the program which will increase the financial burden on the public treasury by approximately 1,200 crore rupees. Presenting the state budget to the Legislature, Deputy Chief Minister and Minister of Finance Ajit Pawar said that in 2020-2021, despite the growing deficit in the industry and services sector, agriculture and related sectors increased by 11.7%. The agricultural sector has helped the state’s economy recover, he added.
“Paying interest on crop loans was often a problem for farmers. Keeping in view the goal of freeing farmers from the burden of interest and preventing them from defaulting, the government has decided to provide zero interest loans to farmers who take out crop loans up to Rs 3 lakh and pay them back on time. The interest amount on the crop loan will be paid by the government. The necessary funds will be provided by the government, ”Pawar said in his budget speech.
He added that the interest-free agricultural loan program would start from this Kharif season. The existing crop loan interest concession program is being converted to an interest-free crop loan program, he added. Pawar also announced an allocation of Rs 2,000 crore for strengthening the Agricultural Commodity Market Committees (APMCs). “APMCs lack basic facilities for farmers to bring their produce there for sale. It is therefore imperative to provide these facilities, ”he added.
In his speech, Pawar pointed out that to prevent farmer suicides, the MVA government implemented the Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Farmer Loan Waiver Program. Under this program, an amount of Rs 19,929 crore was credited to the accounts of 31.23 lakh farmers. “It also paved the way for farmers to get new loans. In 2019-2020 crop loans amounting to Rs 28,604 crore were disbursed, after debt relief loans worth Rs 42,433 crore were disbursed in 2020-2021 . “
However, the MVA government has not made any announcement regarding the granting of 50,000 rupees as an incentive to farmers who repay their loans on time and a one-time settlement option for those with loans over 2 lakh rupees. “We promised to give 50,000 rupees to farmers who repay their loans on time and the one-time payment option. We have not strayed from this promise. If the economic situation recovers in the future, the Chief Minister is of the opinion to consider these promises, ”said Pawar.