Drought-hit farmers get more time to repay loans

The State government will extend the repayment period for crop loans taken by farmers from cooperative institutions by one year in taluks that have been declared drought-hit in the State, Cooperation Minister Lakshman Savadi said on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters in Bangalore, Savadi said the rescheduling of loans will be done to help farmers tide over the prevailing drought conditions in the State. The State government has declared more than 90 taluks drought-affected.

He said the Cooperation department had disbursed Rs 4,081 crore crop loans at one per cent interest to farmers up to November 2011 and had set a target of providing Rs 7,000 crore loan through cooperative institutions for the financial year 2011-12.

Savadi said the target would be achieved as farmers from North Karnataka are likely of avail loans following the commencement of sugar cane plantation season in the next two months.

VAT on cotton

The State government has decided to fix Value Added Tax (VAT) on purchase and sale of cotton at two per cent, Savadi said. Hitherto, the VAT imposed was five per cent, but growers and traders were reimbursed three per cent. However, cotton traders had complained that the process of reimbursement was not hassle-free. At a meeting chaired by Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda on Tuesday, it was decided to levy two per cent VAT and do away with the practice of returning the three per cent, Savadi said.

To a query on action taken on housing societies which had violated laws in allotment of sites and houses, the minister said Vyalikaval House Building Cooperative Societies (HBCS) and Karnataka Legislature Secretariat Employees’ HBCS had been superseded and administrators were appointed in October last. The probe ordered into the functioning of 112 HBCS in Bangalore and Mysore was still in progress, he said.

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