Loan waiver: Devendra Fadnavis goes to Delhi with Sena ministers

CM Fadnavis rules out taking over as Defence Minister

CM Fadnavis rules out taking over as Defence Minister

In an intervention in the State Assembly amid uproar by the ruling Shiv Sena Opposition parties over their clamour for farm loan waiver, Fadnavis said: "We are not per se opposed farm loan waiver. We need to make an allocation of Rs 30,500 crore if we decide to go in for farm loan waiver". Of these, 31,000 farmers have loans overdue amounting to Rs 30,500 crore. "Will the Opposition give the State Government an assurance that once we waive farm loans, the unabated suicide end?"

Nevertheless, he assured, he would discuss the matter of writing off farmers' debts with the Centre, including Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh.

Accusing the opposition of playing politics on such an important and sensitive issue, the Chief Minister said nearly 16,000 farmers committed suicide in spite of the loan waiver in five years. While Shiv Sena is seeking a complete waiver, the BJP is looking for ways in which it could take the Centre's assistance to give such a waiver.

Minister of State for Finance Deepak Kesarkar, who would table the budget in the Upper House of the legislature, when asked about the instructions from his party, said that he would carry out his duty as a minister.

Dubbing Fadnavis's statement as "misleading and making baseless allegations against the opposition", Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil (Congress) said the government must first announce loan-waiver after which the opposition will come to the table. The Congress and NCP are shedding crocodile tears in the name of farmers.

Fadnavis reiterated that his government was not opposed to farm loan waiver but wanted the decision in favour of farmers.

"The non-investment in agriculture sector for many years by previous governments has given rise to farmers' sufferings", he added.

While pledging to bring down cases of farmers' suicides in the state to zero, Fadnavis said, "Crop loan is just one aspect of any agro problem".

About the opposition's demand for agri debt waiver, he said most of the loans have been taken from district central co-operative banks and agricultural credit cooperatives which are controlled by the Congress and the NCP. "The State Government is honest about intentions vis-a-vis the farm loan waiver".

The Leader of Opposition said Fadnavis has not set foot in the House ever since the budget session began nine days ago. "He should tell us when he will visit the Centre and meet the concerned ministers and the Sena is firm on its stand", he said.

He said that sentiment of the Lower House was that there is no option other than loan waiver to the farmers.

For the fifth consecutive day, members of the Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP have been trying to stall proceedings - on two separate occasions for half an hour at a time - by demanding loan waivers to farmers.

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