Maharashtra Government’s Loan Waiver Scheme: Hit or Miss?   

The cut-off date that the Maharashtra government decided to waive farmers loans raises questions on its intentions.

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On the occasion of Marathi language day, a student studying in third grade read this poem in his school. On the same night, that child's farmer father Malhari Bhatule ended his life. This heart-wrenching incident is from Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra This also raises the question: Despite the loan waiver scheme why is the Uddhav Thackeray government unable to stop farmers’ suicide?

Who Is Responsible for Farmers' Suicide?

In the month of November when political parties were struggling to form the government, unseasonal rainfall destroyed crops planted over lakhs of hectares of land. The political parties did not pay any attention to farmers’ distress. There was a need to form a government even if political parties of different ideologies had to come together so that the pending work could be done.

Bearing this in mind, a government was formed with an expectation that political parties will work especially for the farmers. The situation was so dreadful that around 300 farmers had taken their lives between the months of Oct-Nov 2019.

Uddhav Thackeray government decided to help these farmers to address the grave situation. Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Farmer Loan Waiver Scheme was announced. The Uddhav Thackeray government said that loans of up to 2 lakhs would be waived for farmers.

Observing the intentions of the government, it could be assumed that they are working towards the betterment of farmers. But the proof of the failure of this scheme is the very fact that farmers are still taking their lives.

So... What Went Wrong?

So how did things go wrong? The government decided on a cut-off date raising questions on its intentions. The Maharashtra government decided to give loan waivers to the farmers on upto Rs 2 lakhs of pending dues from 1 April 2015 to 30 September 2019. Now the big question is: Why was September set as the cut-off month when crops planted over lakhs of hectares of land were destroyed due to an off-season rainfall in the month of October and November.

Big Losses to Farmers in the Month of Oct-Nov

This raises questions over the intention of the government. As per the data, crops planted over 94 lakh hectares of land were destroyed due to untimely rainfall. If government would have taken 30 September 2019 as the cuff-off date more farmers would have got compensation. But this seems unlikely. This is why farmers are seen as trapped and suicides continue. A farmer from Ahmednagar ended his life only because he did not have money to pay his bank EMIs.

As per our information, he had also taken loan for his sister’s wedding. Even though the government tried to help farmers by giving compensations the delay isn’t helping the cause.

Onion Farmers Too Booked Huge Losses

Onion farmers have also booked huge losses. Onion farmers are also seen trapped in this situation. Politicians continue to keep farmers in distress.

Politics in the Name of Farmers

Politicians ask for votes in their name even governments are formed but the farmer distress continues. A school kid of class 3 who recited poem ‘Farmer! do not commit suicide’ and the irony: His father ended his life.

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