HDK's pet crop loan waiver draws flak from farmers

HDK's pet crop loan waiver draws flak from farmers

Farmers played hardball with Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on Friday placing several demands that they want to see in the upcoming state budget, including solar power sops, crop insurance, ironing out issues with the crop loan waiver among others.

As part of his pre-budget preparation, Kumaraswamy held a two-hour-long meeting with farmer leaders from all over the state where he also faced criticism, especially over issues his pet crop loan waiver scheme faced.

“For the past couple of months, farmers whose existing loans have not been waived are not getting fresh loans from banks. Also, there are about 8,000 farmers who were not covered either under the Centre’s loan waiver of 2008 or the state government’s waiver that is applicable for loans taken after 2009,” Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha leader Mallikarjun Swamy told reporters.

Farmers have also pitched for the government to start its own insurance company to get around problems in the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana. “We have also asked the government to emulate the Telangana’s investment support scheme, in which farmers are paid Rs 10,000 per acre,” Swamy said.

“Solar power is another problem area and we’ve asked the government to subsidize its usage for agricultural purposes.”

Cooperation Minister Bandeppa Kashempur said a section of farmers had demanded slashing the registration fee for harvesting machines. “In Karnataka, the fee is Rs 1 lakh whereas it is just Rs 6,000 in Maharashtra. The chief minister will take a final call on this,” Kashempur told reporters. “Another demand was to implement the M S Swaminathan report on minimum support price.”