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Should Farm Loans Taken for Bikes and Weddings be Waived, Asks HDK as Farmers Continue to Wait

Addressing a meeting of farmers' groups along with Deputy CM G Parameshwara, Kumaraswamy said that JD(S) and coalition partner Congress were all for loan waivers but there were many aspects that will have to be looked into before making an announcement.

Deepa Balakrishnan | CNN-News18deepab18

Updated:May 30, 2018, 6:38 PM IST
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Should Farm Loans Taken for Bikes and Weddings be Waived, Asks HDK as Farmers Continue to Wait
HD Kumaraswamy shows victory sign after Yeddyurappa's resignation before the floor test at Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru. (PTI)
Bengaluru: As farmers continue to wait for the promised loan waiver in Karnataka, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Wednesday observed if farmers who took loans to celebrate weddings and buy motorbikes should also be considered for the waiver.

Kumaraswamy added that modalities of the waiver would take some time to finalise and thus the announcement would take another 15 days at least. This comes even as reports come in of alliance partner Congress holding up the process to initiate the loan waiver as Kumaraswamy said that he is at the "mercy of Congress". Karnataka Cabinet expansion has also been delayed further after Congress chief Rahul Gandhi went abroad and the two parties failed to agree on portfolio distribution.

Addressing a meeting of farmers' groups along with Deputy CM G Parameshwara, Kumaraswamy said that JD(S) and coalition partner Congress were all for loan waivers but there were many aspects that will have to be looked into before making an announcement.

“There are farmers who have taken loans to buy motorbikes or to celebrate weddings. There are some who run pesticide shops but have taken loans for their land. There are farmers who own plantations upto 500-1,000 acres. Should we give loans to all such people," Kumaraswamy wondered.

He added that no Government Order (GO) on loan waiver can be expected over the next ten days.

Kumaraswamy had announced in his pre-election manifesto that he would waive all loans taken by farmers within 24 hours of his chief ministership.

However, a week into his chief ministership, the JD(S) leader is yet to make the announcement, citing pressures of consulting his coalition partner for the delay. He will also consult heads of nationalised banks before issuing the order.

Within the next 15 days, while he finalises the modalities of the waiver, Kumaraswamy has asked small and marginal farmers to submit documents related to their debts to the Deputy Commissioner (Collector) in their districts as they will act as the nodal officer for loan waivers.

The waivers, once implemented, will apply to all those who have taken loans for farming activity between April 1, 2009 (when the last big loan waiver was announced by the central government) and December 31, 2017.

This will be part of Phase 1 of the yet-to-be-worked-out loan waiver scheme while the government will consider the debts of other larger farmers in the second phase.

The chief minister's announcements, however, drew flak from the Opposition BJP who threatened to create a stir.

"He had announced that as soon as he comes to power, he will waive all loans of all farmers, upto Rs 53,000 crore. If he doesn't fulfil his promise within a week, the BJP will hold a series of protests against the government," BJP state president BS Yeddyurappa said.

Yeddyurappa was invited to the farmers’ meeting called by Kumaraswamy, which he chose not to attend and sent Deputy Leader of Opposition Govind Karjol instead.

Yeddyurappa, who was the chief minister for two days before he resigned from the post had announced farm loan waiver soon after taking oath.

An unperturbed Kumaraswamy said he won't respond to petty political statements but rather aim at bringing out the scheme that he plans to ensure farmers are free of the entire debt cycle in future as well.

The chief minister plans to ensure a minimum prices for farm yield and scientific farming practices for them farmers to get a regular income instead of getting into the debt cycle.

“I don’t want to waive loans and force farmers to go back to the debtor with the current monsoon season for a fresh set of loans. They need to practice scientific methods,” the CM said.

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| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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