Karnataka waives farm loans of Rs 8167 crore

India raises rice, cotton buying prices as farmers' protests mount

Siddaramaiah-led Congress government has been facing intense pressure for long to dole out loan waivers to farmers after Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Punjab made similar announcements to fullfill their poll promises.

Buoyed by its win in the recent bypolls, the Congress government is mulling advancing the assembly polls scheduled for May next year."The possibility of early polls is being examined by the party leadership".

"State BJP leaders have no moral right to demand loan waivers".

Further stating that the state government is strongly "pro-farmer", the Chief Minister stated that Karnataka is the first state in country to transfer input subsidies directly to bank accounts of farmers. It is expected that the loan waiver scheme will benefit more than 22 lakh farmers in the state of Karnataka.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had been under constant attack from the opposition BJP, which has accused him of "dilly dallying" on loan waiver.

Crop loans obtained from cooperative banks amount to just 20 per cent, while 80 per cent is from nationalised and grameen banks that come under the ambit of the Central government, he added.




"This will benefit 22,27,506 farmers in the state", Siddaramaiah announced to thumping applause in the legislative assembly on Wednesday.

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

Talking about his government's finances, Siddaramaiah said it had not pushed the State into a debt trap but the government's borrowings were well within the limits of fiscal discipline, at 18.93 per cent of the SGDP. "We also give farmers incentives on milk production", he said.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had yesterday said that the Centre was not considering any proposal for farm loan waiver, and it intends to adhere to the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act and fiscal deficit targets.

Karnataka is the fourth state to write off farm loans after Punjab, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.

"The government has laid down several conditions like setting up a cut-off date and waiving only loans up to one lakh rupees". Both states have announced farm loan waivers.

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