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Zero interest loans for Maharashtra farmers

Wednesday, 23 March 2011 - 7:00pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: PTI

In his maiden budget as finance minister, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar on Wednesday proposed a scheme to make available crop loans to farmers at reduced rate of interest.
In his maiden budget as finance minister, Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar on Wednesday proposed a scheme to make available crop loans to farmers at reduced rate of interest.

Farmers who repay their crop loan within the stipulated period will get loan up to Rs50,000 at zero rate of interest and will get loan above Rs50,000 and up to Rs3lakh at 2% rate of interest, Pawar informed the assembly.

For payment of interest subsidy under this scheme a provision of Rs4.28crore is proposed for the year 2011-12.

To make available fertilisers on time to the farmers, state government is implementing since last three years scheme of maintaining buffer stock of fertilisers.

This scheme will be continued for next kharif season also. An amount of Rs 51.50 crore has been provided for this scheme.
There are about 31lakh agricultural pumps in the state and to increase the agricultural income of farmers, subsidy is provided in electricity supplied to the agricultural pumps. A subsidy Rs2,500crore is proposed for the year 2011-12 for the scheme, he said.

During the year 2010-11, Mahavitaran would be providing electricity connections to 2,75,000 agricultural pumps.
Efforts are being made to reach the stage of 'Electricity Connection on Demand' from April, 2011. To speed up programme of electrification of agricultural pumps and to remove the backlog of electrification of agricultural pumps, a provision of Rs80crore is proposed for the year 2011-12, he said.

Despite giving heavy concessions in electricity rates, electricity dues are outstanding with several farmers, Pawar said. The total amount of outstanding dues against electricity bills of farmers at the end of December 2010 was about Rs5,900crore, including the principal amount of Rs2,910crore, interest of Rs2,930crore and penal interest of Rs59crore, he said.

"I am announcing a Krishi Sanjeevani Yojana for finding a solution to this problem faced by the farmers. Under this scheme, it has been decided to waive interest and penal interest in respect of those farmers, who pay in full outstanding principal amount as of a specified cut off date," he said.

Around 22lakh farmers will get benefit of this scheme, Pawar said. Details of this scheme will be announced separately, he added.
With the assistance of Central government, National Agricultural Insurance Scheme, Modified National Agricultural Insurance Scheme and Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme are being implemented in the State. Under these three schemes subsidy in insurance premium is provided. For this a provision of Rs83crore has been made in the budget, he said.

About 26lakh farmers are participating in Crop Insurance Scheme and due to this the farmers who depend on vagaries of nature for agriculture will get special relief, he said.

An expenditure of over Rs300crore is expected in the year 2010-11 on projects such as special initiative for pulses and oilseed in dry land areas, micro irrigation, seed replacement in Konkan region, repairs of Malguzari Tanks, strengthening of Taluka Seed Farm and Onion Storage, he said.

For the year 2011-12, a provision of Rs415crore is proposed, he added.

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