Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi, the Sena-NCP-Congress alliance, has come out with its much-awaited common minimum programme (CMP), which promises loan waiver to farmers.
Former agricultural secretary Siraj Hussain and principal economist at ICRA Aditi Nayar shared their views on the programme.
“When the previous government was formed in 2014, farm loan waiver was announced in Maharashtra and it was promised that some Rs 34,000 crore will be waived. Later on, a number of reasonable restrictions were put and as a result of that, the amount waived is something like Rs 18,600 crore. The farmers of Maharashtra have been hit hard by the impact of climate fluctuations. They do need help. On the pattern of Rythu Bandhu, KALIA and PM Kisan, Maharashtra is also going to see a scheme of direct income support to farmers,” said Hussain.
According to Nayar, the fiscal situation in Maharashtra is unique. The state's fiscal deficit hasn’t crossed 2 percent since FY2011 and there is fiscal space that the state government can utilise to implement welfare schemes. “Typically the pattern that we see is what gets announced is a large amount and eventually the amount that gets disbursed tends to be in a staggered manner over a number of years,” Nayar pointed out.
“This government has a lot of experience in dealing with agriculture crisis. I hope that there will be a large investment in the agricultural infra sector,” Hussain further noted.