BANGALORE: Joining the ‘Who is more farmer-friendly?’ race with his predecessor B S Yeddyurappa, Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda has announced interest free short-term loans up to Rs 1 lakh to the farmers in his Rs 19,669 crore agriculture budget presented in the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday.
Continuing the practice of presenting a separate budget which was started by Yeddyurappa last year, Gowda sought to reduce the interest on farm loans to be availed from cooperative societies from one to zero percent. However, he has capped the loan limit to Rs 1 lakh from the earlier Rs 3 lakh.
This apart, Gowda doubled the crop loan limit to be availed from commercial banks to Rs 1 lakh. The government will provide three percent interest subsidy on these loans.
“Our idea is to extend the benefit largely to small and marginal farmers, who cover about 75 per cent of the farming population to facilitate timely agricultural operations,” Gowda defended his decision to reduce crop loan limit from cooperative societies.
Apart from this significant announcement, this year’s agri-budget has got nothing new to offer as all programmes and schemes announced by Yeddyurappa continue to find place, however with an increased allocation.
Among others, the agri-budget hopes to achieve the target of 136.55 lakh metric tonnes of food grains production, a 10 percent increase from the current year’s realisation and 15.2 lakh metric tonnes of oil seeds.
Gowda has earmarked Rs 400 crore to take up the much-debated Yettinahole project envisaged to provide drinking water to the parched districts of Bangalore Rural, Kolar, Chikkaballapur, Tumkur. The government is planning to draw 24 TMC ft of water by constructing a small barrage at Yettinahole and some other villages near Sakleshpur in Hassan district. The CM has also proposed to link west-flowing rivers under ‘Soubhagya Sanjivini’ scheme to facilitate drinking water supply, irrigation, fishery, flood control in the undivided Dakshina Kannada district.