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Karnataka plans farm loans at one percent interest rate

Bangalore, Jan 6 (IANS)

The Karnataka government plans to extend farm loans at one percent interest under the cooperative sector to help farmers increase output, Governor H.R. Bhardwaj said Thursday.

"The government intends to examine the feasibility of extending farm loans under the cooperative sector at a lower interest rate of one percent," Bhardwaj said in his address to the winter session of the assembly here.

The address was tabled in the house as he was not allowed to read the text by a vociferous opposition raising land scam charges against Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa.
Keeping farmers' interest in the forefront of development, the government currently extends term loans to farmers, weavers and fishermen at three percent interest rate through cooperative credit societies.

Credit to the tune of Rs.3,010 crore was disbursed to 890,000 farmers during the first nine months (April-Dec) of this fiscal (2010-11).


Foodgrain production in the state during this fiscal is estimated to be a record 12.6 million tonnes as against 10.6 million tonnes in 2009-10 when drought, erratic monsoon and flash floods in northern districts affected farming.

"About 2.5 million farmers have been given quality seeds at subsidized rates during the year. The 'Bhoochetana' programme initiated to boost yields, covers 1.2 million hectares of farmland across 16 districts," Bhardwaj said.

About Rs.100 crore was also disbursed during this fiscal to bring about 71,000 hectares of land under organic cultivation for promoting organic farming in the state.

"The government in the process of setting up horti-clinics and horticulture information and consultancy centres to help farmers and entrepreneurs in getting agri information. As the state has a huge potential to become the country's horticulture hub, the government will endeavour to formulate more schemes to achieve the objective," the governor said in his 32-page address.

Referring to the Krishna Tribunal Award, which enhanced the water resources potential of the state, Bhardwaj said the government would allocate more investment in the water sector.

"This decade (2011-20) will be declared as 'irrigation decade' (Neeravari Dashaka) with focus on water resources management. Master plans and modalities will be drawn for effective implementation this year," he said.

To ensure water for irrigation and drinking purpose, the government plans to execute 14 major and medium irrigation projects during this fiscal year to cover about 59,000 hectares of areas across the state.

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