Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Thursday announced an additional farm loan waiver of Rs 10,700 crore after coming under pressure. Kumaraswamy had announced a Rs 34,000-crore waiver on July 5. Farmer associations had asked for a higher waiver, and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, now an alliance partner, had also criticised some elements of the budget proposed earlier.
“We have decided to waive existing crop loans up to Rs 1 lakh borrowed from the cooperative sector,” Kumaraswamy said in the state Assembly on Thursday, calling it “more good news for farmers”. A release from the state later said 22.23 lakh farmers would benefit from the loan waiver, PTI reported. “In four years period, in four instalments nationalised bank’s loan waiver amount will be repaid, and during this year Rs 6,500 crore will be repaid,” he said. Kumaraswamy also holds the state’s finance portfolio.
He, however, did not clarify the state’s commitment to the supply of 7kg rice under the previous government’s flagship scheme Anna Bhagya. Siddaramaiah had said the scheme should be restored, and had also asked for a rollback on petrol and diesel taxes. Kumaraswamy defended the tax hike though, calling it a source of income for the state.
Opposition leader and Bharatiya Janata Party chief in the state BS Yeddyurappa has said the loan waiver was not tenable though and asked several questions about it, The New Indian Express reported. Unhappy with the answers, BJP members walked out of the House, alleging the government was “betraying” the people, PTI reported.