Mumbai, April 24: The Maharashtra government would be extending its loan waiver scheme to those defaulted since 2001, thus benefitting four lakh more farmers, said media reports. The decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, but the amount of funds required has not been disclosed yet. A report in The Times of India suggests the government will have to bear an added expenditure of Rs 3,149 crore. Speaking to mediapersons, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the scheme would include those who took loans between 2001 and 2009 but were left out of the 2008-09 loan waiver.

The Chief Minister called it a historic decision and it addresses one of the demands of farmers who took part in the Kisan Long March, walking from Nashik to Mumbai, recently. He said farmers who took loans of up to Rs 1.5 lakh between 2001-06 for shed nets, Emu bird farming, and poly houses could also avail the waiver. Launched in June 2017, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Shetkari Sanman Yojana is applicable to farm loans raised between April 1,  2009 and June 30, 2016.

A note from the CM’s office said that to avail the waiver, farmers will have to declare that they are not beneficiaries under the 2008-09 waiver scheme of the Centre. Farmers across the state had launched an agitation last year following repeated crop failure and low prices of produce. They stopped the supply of fruit, vegetables and milk. The state government then announced a Rs 34,000 crore waiver package. Of this, over Rs 15,700 crore has been released to 35 lakh farmers. About 46 lakh farmers were found to be eligible for the scheme of which 30 lakh applied for full loan waiver while the rest applied for the incentive.