BENGALURU: Under pressure to honour his big election promise to write off all farm loans without any upper limit, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on Wednesday said he is committed to helping the farmers and sought 15 days’ time to come out with a detailed plan to implement the proposal. While he didn’t exactly announce the loan waiver, much to the disappointment of the farmers who had gathered in the Vidhana Soudha for a meeting on the issue and were expecting a major announcement, the new Chief Minister made clear his intention to fulfil the promise but said the final decision will be taken after consulting Congress and its president Rahul Gandhi.
Announcing a broad outline of what his government intends to do, Kumaraswamy said farm loans availed between April 1, 2009 and December 31, 2017 will be waived, without fixing any upper limit. Addressing farmers’ representatives, the Chief Minister said a government order will be issued in this regard and loan clearance certificates will be delivered to the farmers’ at their doorstep.
However, the announcement left farmers a little disappointed. “We were hoping the CM will announce loan waiver but no such announcement came. But he has a plan and we would like to give him time,” said Ravish Kumar, a farmer from Tumakuru. The opposition BJP too slammed the government for not announcing the loan waiver.
Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara, who was also present, made it clear while the Congress too supports the proposal, it is in favour of examining the issue in detail before taking a final call. “We are not against the farm loan waiver. However, it cannot be done today or tomorrow. That is not how the government works,” he said.
Kumaraswamy said farm loans will be waived without the government having to violate fiscal discipline or going for external borrowing and it will not impact spending on other important sectors like health, education, water resources and social welfare. “We will also consult Congress president Rahul Gandhi and take suggestions from experienced leaders, including Siddaramaiah,” the CM said.
■ Farm loan will be waived in two phases
■ Loans availed between April 1, 2009 and December 31, 2017 will be waived first
■ No upper limit. Mechanism to be put in place to ensure that only needy farmers get the benefit
■ Farmers told to submit loan details to DCs, who will be the nodal officers