Karnataka should follow UP on farm loan waiver: Centre

UP had announced waiver of loans taken by small, marginal farmers

Karnataka should follow UP on farm loan waiver: Centre
Refusing to commit to the demand for waiver of farm loans in Karnataka, the Centre said on Friday the state should follow Uttar Pradesh in announcing such a relief to farmers.

“I hope the Karnataka government will also follow Uttar Pradesh on farm loan waiver,” Union Minister of Agriculture Radha Mohan Singh said in the Rajya Sabha in response to Oscar Fernandes (Congress) who had asked whether the Centre would announce a loan waiver for Karnataka which had been facing severe drought.

The BJP-led government in Uttar Pradesh recently announced waiver of agriculture loans taken by small and marginal farmers.

The minister was, however, noncommittal when asked whether the NDA government would follow the UPA regime’s decision to waive farm loans across the country.

“Will you, as a central minister, and the prime minister follow the UPA in announcing a farm loan waiver for the entire country?” Anand Sharma of the Congress asked.

Singh chose to avoid replying to the pointed question but said Karnataka had received higher central assistance during the NDA government than the previous dispensation.

Funds for state soon
To a separate question from K C Ramamurthy of the Congress, the minister said the Centre would soon release funds to Karnataka to provide relief to farmers for crop losses during the rabi season.

“The central expert team has visited drought-hit places in the state and submitted a report. The proposal will be moved before the high-level committee headed by the home minister,” the minister said during the Question Hour.

The Karnataka government had submitted a memorandum to the agriculture ministry seeking drought relief of Rs 3,310 crore for the loss of rabi crops.

Last week, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley ruled out farm loan waiver by the Centre and said states could utilise their own resources for that purpose.

 He clarified that the Centre would not adopt a selective approach by helping one state and not others.

“This issue (loan waiver) has cropped up in several states. The Centre has its policies for agriculture sector under which we provide interest subvention and other support.
We will continue to give all that,” he said in the Rajya Sabha.

“If a state has its own resources and wants to go ahead in that direction, it will have to find its resources. The situation where the Centre will help one state and not the others will not arise,” he added.

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