Maharashtra Farmers Call Off Protest After Govt Promises Loan Waiver
File photo of farmers protest in Nagpur. Representative image. PTI Photo
New Delhi: Farmers in Maharashtra have called off their protest after the state government promised to waive off all loans on Sunday.
A committee will be formed by the state government to decide the criteria of debt relief.
The Maharashtra government’s decision came after the farmers’ agitation for a loan waiver entered its 11th day.
The decision to end the agitation was made in a core committee meeting of farmer representatives who have been leading the protest. However, key members of the committee boycotted the meeting, exposing a rift.
Maharashtra revenue minister C Patil said, “The CM had announced loan waiver for small and marginal farmers. Today, the government has accepted it based on certain criteria.”
Earlier in the week, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had announced a loan waiver plan, but the specifics had not been made public. In response, the Reserve Bank of India issued a warning against any such move with RBI Governor Urjit Patel saying that going down the "slippery path" of loan waivers could dissipate gains made by states over the last few years and asked governments to tread very carefully.
According to the plan, the scheme for marginal farmers will come to effect from Monday with loans for families which depend only on farming being waived off. Farmer groups have said that if all the demands are not met by July 25, then they will continue with their protest..
Meanwhile, key members of farmers' core committee who stayed away from stay away from the meeting in Mumbai alleged that farmers' protest has been taken over by vested political interests. Maharashtra government’s deal was claimed to be the biggest success for farmers in the country by the committee as they called off the agitation.
Fadnavis had held a late night meeting and ensured withdrawal of the strike, but it emerged that some of the farmers' leaders who were part of the talks with him in Mumbai, were close to BJP and RSS. This outraged the farmers and their agitation intensified in the following days.
Last week, a farmer in Solapur district, before ending his life due to debt, wrote that unless the chief minister visits his farm, his body should not be cremated.
(With PTI inputs)
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