Yeddyurappa got down to business by directing officials to work out the waiver of loans farmers have borrowed from nationalised and cooperative banks.
However, he is learnt to have decided to go slow after he was told that the waiver could cost the exchequer
Rs 35,000 crore.
During the BJP’s campaign, Yeddyurappa had promised waiving crop loans up to
Rs 1 lakh outstanding as on March 31, 2018. Soon after taking charge as chief minister, Yeddyurappa held the Cabinet meeting with chief secretary
K Ratna Prabha on implementing the waiver.
Much as he would have liked to, Yeddyurappa did not sign the loan waiver order, after officials told him the government would require Rs 35,000 crore and to set aside at least Rs 10,000 crore every year over a period of time to refinance banks in lieu of the waiver. “In another day or two, I will fulfil this promise and I want to assure farmers and weavers,” he told reporters. “I have asked the chief secretary to work out details of waiving loans up to Rs 1 lakh farmers have borrowed from nationalised and cooperative banks. Even loans up to Rs 1 lakh weavers have borrowed will be waived.”
Yeddyurappa would have done a Siddaramaiah if he had signed the loan waiver order on the first day in office. Siddaramaiah, on his first day, had ordered the implementation of the populist Anna Bhagya scheme.
While addressing his party colleagues later in the day, Yeddyurappa said it was “inevitable” for him to put off the decision on loan waiver by a couple of days. “I had to put it off for want of more statistics, but let there be no doubt that it will be done.” Loan waiver had become a poll issue for the BJP and the Congress as both traded charges on who had done what for farmers’ welfare.
On day one, Yeddyurappa was briefed on the Cauvery water management scheme, 2018, the Centre had drafted. “We briefed the chief minister on what this means for Karnataka. We told him that it was essentially like a management board that would have control over our reservoirs, and that we must continue to oppose it,” an official said.