Siddaramaiah waives farmers' loan in Karnataka, applicable only to cooperative banks

The CM further said that Karnataka government was committed to empowering the farmers of the state thought different "policies, innovations and support".

With today's crop loan waiver announcement, Karnataka has become the fourth state in the country after UP, Maharashtra and Punjab to provide debt relief to the farmers. He also slammed RBI governor Urjit Patel for asking the state government to restrain from announcing farm loan as it will have adverse impact on banking system.

The state will spend Rs 8,167 crore to extend the benefit of crop loan waiver to around 22.27 lakh farmers in the state. Siddaramaiah is expected to make an official announcement on loan waiver on Thursday. After all, he is the chief ministerial candidate of his party.

But he had put the onus on the NDA government at the Centre, saying it had to take the initiative to waive loans borrowed from nationalised and grameen banks which came under its ambit.

However, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley earlier in June had said the Centre would not fund for loan waivers for farmers, adding that the states must fund for this on their own expense. Many other states charge for electricity from farmers, whereas in Karnataka, the government pays on behalf of the farmers.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that the government will use digital platform to ensure that only the needy farmers loans are written off.

The Chief Minister and Congress MLAs also chided BJP over the Centre being non-committal on the issue.

Accusing BJP of abandoning and forgetting the farmers, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi during his recent visit to the state had advised the state government to assist them. He said, "Instead of merely debating the government must act immediately and write off farm loans. We also give farmers incentives on milk production", he said. Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have waived off farm loans in the past two years.

He announced that his government would waive off crop loans of up to Rs50,000 per farmer availed till 20 June.

The total farm loans in Karnataka stands at over Rs1.16 trillion.

The farmers have taken altogether Rs 52,000 crore in short-term crop loans in Karnataka.

  • Joey Payne