Karnataka govt to seek EC nod for loan waiver

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Last Updated 12 March 2019, 06:18 IST

With the election model code of conduct in place, the state government will seek clarity from the Election Commission on going ahead with payments under its flagship crop loan waiver scheme.

The H D Kumaraswamy-led JD(S)-Congress coalition is expected to reach out to the farming community on the back of the crop loan waiver scheme, touted as one of India’s biggest.

However, the BJP has been accusing the government of tardy implementation and is expected to continue its attack in the run-up to the elections.

“We will consider seeking permission (from the Election Commission) to continue with the ongoing scheme as it is already announced and not a new programme,” Additional Chief Secretary (finance) I S N Prasad said.

Till date, the state government has waived Rs 6,222 crore crop loans of 15.58 lakh farmers across commercial and cooperative banks.

Of this, Rs 2,076 crore was released to the banks between March 5 and March 10, as if anticipating the model code of conduct.

“There are 16.8 lakh farmers in the green list till date, which means they are eligible for the crop loan waiver. Of these, 1.4 lakh are NPA loans and we are waiting for the government to spell out its policy on this,” an officer involved in the crop loan waiver process said.

The BJP is up in arms over the government reducing the quantum of the crop loan waiver from the promised Rs 46,753 crore to just about Rs 20,000 crore.

“The government has removed seven lakh farmers citing reasons that they did not have proper documentation to receive the crop loan waiver. We condemn this and we will rake this up going forward,” BJP general secretary N Ravikumar said.

“The upper limit for the loan waiver Rs 2 lakh per family. So, a family with an outstanding loan of Rs 20 lakh will get only Rs 2 lakh. Secondly, regular loans get up to Rs 25,000 as an incentive. Thirdly, a cooperative loanee will not get commercial bank crop loan waiver. This means about 30% of farmers with commercial crop loans will get only their cooperative loans waived. With this, the total liability will be about Rs 20,000 crore,” the official said.

The BJP, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has criticised Karnataka's crop loan waiver scheme.

(Published 11 March 2019, 17:56 IST)

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