Maharashtra government Vikas Aghadi (MVA) announced that farmers could obtain interest-free agricultural loans from this fiscal year. Farmers will be able to obtain crop credit of up to Rs 3 lakh, with the state paying interest on the loans, according to state finance minister Ajit Pawar, who announced it during the presentation of the budget. the State for 2021-2022 in the Assembly on Monday. He has launched a number of initiatives to help farmers and improve farming facilities. Farmers would also benefit from the budget, which provides for a 33% cut on electricity bills. According to Pawar, the state will forgo Rs 30,411 crore on unpaid electricity bills under the plan.
“Paying interest on crop loans is a common problem for farmers. The government has agreed to offer zero-interest crop loans to farmers who harvest loans up to a ceiling of 3 lakh to relieve them from hardship of interest, ”said Pawar. According to the state economic survey, agriculture is the only sector in Maharashtra that has developed during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Pawar reported that the Agricultural Products Market Committee (APMC), where farmers sell their products, would be improved. “Most of the infrastructure of the APMCs does not have the basic equipment that farmers need. It is important to provide these services. The Minister of Finance said that a fund of 2,000 crore will be launched to improve APMCs.
“It was agreed to introduce a program to supply electricity to agricultural pumps of farmers who have not yet been connected to the grid. It can be achieved by connecting requesting farmers to traditional or solar electricity. Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) will receive a capital share of Rs 1,500 crore per year from the state government to run the program, he said.
Due to the economic downturn that ravaged the state after months of lockdowns, the state was unable to implement two programs proposed in the previous budget. This year, it also reduced the amount of money set aside for agriculture and related operations.
Farmers who had paid their debts on time for the previous three fiscal years were entitled to a monetary reward of up to Rs 50,000. He had also announced a concession of 2 lakh rupees for the one-time repayment of a harvest loan. The finance minister explained that the plans have been put on hold and will be launched until the state’s economy has recovered.
Ajit Nawale, secretary general of Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sabha (AIKS), said that if the government is to consider implementing the programs announced in the previous budget and a request for remission of electricity bills asked by farmers, they welcome the amount of programs announced. and the Minister of Finance’s emphasis on the role of agriculture in economic development.
Pawar said during his budget speech that the government is planning to invest 1000 crore to introduce the “Maharashtra Agro Business Network Project (Magnet)” for smallholder fruit and vegetable producers. It will last six years with the aim of increasing farmers’ profits. During the budget presentation, the finance minister also expressed support for the continued protests by farmers against controversial farm laws.
It is important to focus on agricultural research in order to improve agro-industrial production. Although the previous government announced it, the MVA government will now provide four agricultural universities with a total of 600 crore over three years for research that will benefit agricultural growth, he added.