All eyes on HDK as he makes first move on crop loan waiver today

All eyes on HDK as he makes first move on crop loan waiver today

H D Kumaraswamy

All eyes will be on Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on Wednesday on whether he will announce a crop loan waiver.

Kumaraswamy has convened a meeting of representatives of various farmer organisations and progressive farmers from each district at the Vidhana Soudha to discuss various issues including the subjects of crop loan waiver and farmers suicide.

Deputy Chief Minister
G Parameshwara will take part in the meeting and Leader of the Opposition in Legislative Assembly and BJP leader B S Yeddyurappa has been invited.

If Kumaraswamy does go ahead and announce waiver of farm loans, it will be the first major decision of the JD(S)-Congress coalition government.

However, official sources said it will be in phases, spread over a period of five years. Total waiver of loans availed of by farmers from nationalised banks, cooperative institutions and the private sector will cost the state exchequer a whooping Rs 53,000 crore.

It will be a financial jugglery for Kumaraswamy as he has already announced that he will continue with the various “bhagya schemes” of the previous Congress regime. Besides, he will have to factor in the implementation of the recommendations of the 6th pay commission which will result in an additional cost of Rs 10,508 crore annually to the state exchequer.

In its election manifesto, the JD (S) had promised to implement a farm-loan waiver scheme within 24 hours of coming to power. However, the announcement is yet to come with Kumaraswamy seeking a week’s time to take a decision.

Kumaraswamy recent statement that he is more indebted to the Congress then the six-and-a-half crore people of Karnataka has become a topic of intense debate.

Kumaraswamy’s statement may be attributed to the constraints of coalition politics. However, the chief minister has also said that he will resign if he does not announce crop loan waiver scheme within a week.

Kumaraswamy has been holding consultations on the issue for the past few days. On Tuesday, he held a meeting with the senior officers including Chief Secretary K Ratna Prabha, Additional Chief Secretary (Finance) ISN Prasad, Additional Chief Secretary and Development Commissioner D V Prasad and Additional Chief Secretary to chief minister, M Lakshminarayana.

Speaking to reporters after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, Kumaraswamy had said that guidelines for the crop loan waiver scheme will be announced on Wednesday.

Yeddyurappa has stated that the BJP will intensify its protest against Kumaraswamy if he does not keep his promise. The BJP extended support to a bandh on the issue that received mixed response all over the state on Monday.