Interest-free farm loans from co-ops

The State government has announced interest-free short-term crop loans of up to Rs one lakh to the farmers through co-operative institutions in the budget.

The second consecutive agriculture budget presented by the BJP government, takes forward the flagship schemes announced in the first agri-budget, but stops short of pitching forth any new major programmes.

The government, which had reduced the interest rate on short-term crop loans to one per cent last year, has made the loans interest free this year. An amount of Rs 300 crore has been set aside to give subsidy to co-operative institutions for lending to farmers.

In all, Rs 19,660 crore has been earmarked for agriculture, allied and irrigation sectors for the financial year 2012-13. ‘Suvarna Bhoomi Yojana,’ subsidies for organic farming, ‘Bhuchethana’ scheme for improving farm yield, milk subsidy for 22 lakh farmers and free power to 17 lakh irrigation pumpsets have been continued.

The government has decided to integrate the ‘Bhoomi’ project with UID (Aadhar scheme). “Based on the data provided,  various facilities provided to each category of farmers (small, marginal and big) can be analysed. This data will also be useful in formulating agriculture-related policies,” the chief minister said.

The government has proposed to implement Karnataka State Integrated Horticulture Development Scheme during 2012-13 in selected clusters. The scheme plans to bring 28,000 hectares of land under cultivation of value-added horticulture crops. A sum of Rs 305 crore has been earmarked for the scheme, which is likely to benefit 50,000 farming families.

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