Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on Sunday reacted strongly to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks that the state government’s crop loan waiver scheme was a “cruel joke on farmers,” stating that they were “incorrect and unfortunate”.
“The crop loan waiver scheme is a commitment made by our government to farmers and the process has already begun. It is very sad that he (Modi) sees it as a cruel joke on farmers. He is misleading the people of the nation without obtaining the facts about the scheme,” Kumaraswamy, who is in Singapore on a trip with his family, said in a statement.
Modi, in an interaction with BJP booth-level workers of North Karnataka via video-conferencing last week, had attacked the state government over its crop loan waiver scheme, saying that it would go down in history as one of the most cruel jokes on farmers. “After six months in power, there are reports that only a handful of farmers have benefited so far,” he had said.
In response, Kumaraswamy said crop loan waiver was an “open book” and information was available online. “Government of Karnataka is handling the tax payers’ money with caution. It is ensured that every genuine farmer gets the benefit,” he said.
Disputing that only a handful of farmers had benefited, Kumaraswamy said, as on date, Rs 350 crore had been paid to about 60,000 farmers electronically, with the funds being directly credited to their accounts. He said in the next one week another one lakh farmers would get around Rs 400 crore. He said the first phase of the scheme would be completed by the end of January.
“Despite all the above facts, making such remarks is indeed not expected on the part of the prime minister. Despite repeated requests, the union government has not come to the rescue of farmers and now, the prime minister is demeaning the state government for political gain by making such incorrect remarks,” Kumaraswamy said.
He recalled that the Centre had not responded to the protests of distressed farmers in New Delhi and now, was mocking at the state government’s efforts to bail out the farmers.