Karnataka cabinet approves waiving Rs 30,163 cr farm loans

Bengaluru: The Karnataka cabinet gave its approval to waiving Rs 30,163 crore farm loans in respect of nationalised or commercial banks, as announced in the budget.

“The State government had announced loan waiver in the budget. We have already issued a GO (Government order) on cooperative bank farm loan waiver. In the same way in today’s meeting we approved waiving of loans from nationalized banks, and issued a GO,” Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy said.

This waiver of Rs 30,163 crore to benefit about 23 lakh farmers also includes interest to be paid by the government to nationalised banks, he said, adding they had agreed to four installments, but were not not ready to leave the interest.

The government has limited the loan amount to Rs 2 lakh in this waiver. This also includes waiving of existing loan up to Rs 25,000, he said.

The Chief Minister said repayment to nationalized banks would be done in six installments, for which government has already earmarked Rs 6,500 crore for the current year.

Earlier this month, the cabinet had given its nod to waiving Rs 9,448.61 crore existing farm loans in respect of cooperative banks and had issued a GO in this regard.

The state government also announced a debt relief to land less agricultural labourers, small farmers and those from weaker sections as one-time relief .

Pointing out that the debt relief act was brought in the state earlier in 1976 and 1980, the Chief Minister said yesterday “the cabinet decided to recommend to the President to issue a similar ordinance now, across the state.”

On the debt relief, he said under this ordinance, one who has obtained a loan can be relieved from repayment, but it would not be applicable to loans obtained from micro finances and other institutions that comes under RBI’s rules and acts.

It further states that small farmers should not have land more than two hectares, annual income should be less than Rs 1.25 lakh and also that one should not have any income from agriculture sources.

Also those pressurizing farmers for repayment will have to pay a penalty upto Rs one lakh and face a one-year jail term.

Kumaraswamy also said that he has written to the Prime Minister, Home Minister and Defence Minister, requesting for Rs 2,000 crore relief to flood and land slide affected regions of the state, including Kodagu district.

He said the Chief Ministers Relief Fund has till yesterday has received Rs 25,16,89,808 and that government employees had contributed one day’s salary, amounting to Rs 102 crore.