Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Wednesday said his government will need 15 days’ time to announce a farm loan waiver scheme. In the election manifesto, Kumaraswamy’s Janata Dal Secular had said that it would waive all farm loans within 24 hours of assuming power.
“We will come to a decision in 15 days,” said Kumaraswamy after he and Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara met representatives of farmers from 30 districts to seek suggestions on the loan waiver scheme. “In 15 days, it will get completely implemented....whatever may be the difficulties, our government is committed to maintaining fiscal discipline, and also saving you [farmers].”
This comes amid reports that the Congress, which is the Janata Dal (Secular)’s ally in the state, is holding up the process. Kumaraswamy on Wednesday reiterated that he was at the “mercy of [the] Congress”. “Without the blessing of people, but only with blessing of Rahul Gandhi, we’ve come to power,” said the chief minister, according to ANI. “I’ll convince [the] Congress party, but I can only take decision once they approve.” He will also consult nationalised banks before issuing any order, reported The Hindu.
On Wednesday, Kumaraswamy asked small and marginal farmers to submit documents related to their debts within 15 days to the deputy commissioner in their districts who will be the nodal officer for loan waivers. The waiver is likely to be announced in two phases.
The scheme will apply to all those who have taken loans for farming between April 1, 2009, and December 31, 2017, reported News18. The last big loan waiver was announced by the Congress-led Central government in April 2009.
The Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party threatened to hold protests if the state government failed to announce the loan waiver. “He had announced that as soon as he comes to power, he will waive all loans of all farmers, up to Rs 53,000 crore,” said party state president BS Yeddyurappa. “If he doesn’t fulfil his promise within a week, the BJP will hold a series of protests against the government.”