Relief package soon for Maharashtra farmers with over Rs 2 lakh loan: Guv

Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Wednesday saidthe state government was finalising a relief package for farmerswhose short-term crop loan outstandings exceed Rs 2 lakh.

Similarly, in order to encourage farmers who are repaying their crop loans on time, the state government will announce new measures shortly, the governor said while addressing the joint sitting of both Houses of the state legislature in the Marathi language.

A special one-day session of the state legislature was held to ratify the Constitution Amendment bill, which was passed by Parliament on December 11.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, whose party Shiv Sena heads the coalition government comprising the NCP and Congress, had in December last year announced an unconditional loan waiver for farmers.

As per the "Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Farmer Loan Waiver Scheme" announced by the CM, farmers whose loan is up to Rs two lakh taken between April 1, 2015, and March 31, 2019, and which has not been repaid till September 30, 2019, will be eligible for the waiver.

Koshyari said the loanwaiver scheme covers the outstanding crop loan amountupto Rs two lakh, which includes the principal amountand the interest, as on September 30, 2019.

"The scheme coversshort-termcrop loanand restructured short-term crop loanavailed during the period from April1, 2015 to March31, 2019. My government will implementthis schemein a time-bound manner," the governor said.

The governmentwill also announce welfare schemes targetting rural as well as urban populations, he said, adding that the people from various walks of life will be benefitted.

Speaking on safety of women, the governor said that his governmentwas committed to implement various security measuresfor the protection of women.

"Prompt and stern action will betaken in respect of offences against women, and appropriate amendments will be made in the laws for that purpose," he said.

Paying homage to the martyrs of the 'Sanyukta (united) Maharashtra' movement, the governor underlined that the year 2020 marks60 years of formation of Maharashtra state.

"In the last 60 years, Maharashtra made a remarkable progressin the fields of agriculture, industry, information technology, arts, sports, music, education and other fields of life. The government will organise various programmes to celebrate these achievements," he told the legislators.

The contentious Maharashtra-Karnataka border dispute also found mention in the governor's speech, which lasted for nearly 45 minutes.

"My government will continue to take a firm stand before the Supreme Court regarding theprotection of the Constitutional rightsand privileges of the Marathi-speaking people residing in 865 villagesclaimed by the state in relation to the Maharashtra-Karnataka border," he said.

Stating that the Marathi theatremovement completed175 years in the year 2019, the governor said his government was planning to establisha museum on the history of this movement in Mumbai in the year 2020.

He said the "Shiv Bhojan" scheme, which proposes to provide a meal to the poor for Rs 10, will cost Rs 50 in urban areas and Rs 35 in rural areas.

"People will have to pay Rs ten while the balance amount will be given by the government. This scheme will be implemented in a phased-manner, starting from each district headquarters and municipal corporation areas," the governor said.

He further said the state government will develop pilgrim centresand also provide basic amenitieslike toilets and drinking water, to pilgrims who walk on foot from Mumbai to Shirdi.

"Measures will also be taken for the overall development of the youth," Koshyari added.

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