Despite several directives, warnings and reminders by the government of Maharashtra to grant crop loans to farmers, public sector banks in the state seem to have decided against it. Following the inaction by the banks, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has approached Union minister Arun Jaitley in the matter.
The banks seem to be reluctant to disburse crop loans which forced the state government to issue a warning that its deposits in these banks shall be removed unless they fulfil their crop loan target.
By the end of July 2018, crop loans worth Rs 16,000 crore were disbursed in the state, out of which the share of nationalised banks or public sector banks was only 8%.
District Co-operative Central Banks(DCCBs) and Regional Rural Co-operative Banks have disbursed 63% and 29% of the crop loans respectively. Following the state’s decision to grant a debt waiver, the government directed the allocation of crop loans to the farmers to public sector banks along with district central co-operative banks and regional rural co-operative banks.
Since public sector banks have not touched even 10% of their priority lending or crop loan targets, the Department of Cooperation has expressed dissatisfaction and has issued a strict warning that if the banks do not comply, the state government will have to seriously take a decision with regard to government deposits kept in these banks.
This year, the government has set a crop loan target of nearly `43,731 crore. Loan targets were also set for public sector banks, district central cooperative banks and regional rural cooperative banks. Out of these, DCCBs have met their targets to a large extent. However, because of the reluctance shown by the public sector banks, farmers in the state have been subjected to distress and have been kept waiting for long.
Chief minister Fadnavis had recently admitted that the kharif season crop credit disbursement in the state has been low at only 25% of the target. He had said that all efforts were being made to get the banks to ramp up the credit coverage.In April-May this year, the disbursal of crop loans was `1,426 crore lower than last year. In June, Fadnavis wrote to finance minister Piyush Goyal asking him to issue a directive to banks to speed up the process.
In Pune division, the total target of kharif crop loan allocation is `8,517.25 crore. Of this, `4,997.74 crore (58.67%) has been disbursed. DCCBs have a large share in this disbursal. Satara District Central Cooperative Bank has disbursed 140% of its crop loan target and Kolhapur District Central Cooperative Bank has achieved a target of 116%.
Since allocation of nationalised banks in Pune division has been less than average, they were given strict instructions to make more efforts to fulfil their objectives. Pune divisional commissioner Deepak Mhaiskar has warned that unless these banks fulfil their targets, the government deposits in these banks shall be removed and shifted to those banks that have fulfiled their crop loan targets.
Pune division has some 7,23,692 farmers who have been given a debt waiver of nearly `1,950.99 crore. A review was also taken of the farmers who have been given the benefit of the loan waiver and their eligibility for restructuring of their existing crop loans and farmers who are eligible for new crop loans.