BENGALURU: The Karnataka government is giving a zero-interest loan of up to Rs 2 lakh to farmers who are willing to take up dairying and fisheries. The cooperation department’s initiative is expected to help people who have lost jobs in urban areas and returned to their villages and towns.
At present, in Karnataka, farmers can take up to Rs 3 lakh as crop loan without interest, through cooperative banks. The government has come forward to extend this facility to farmers taking up dairying and fisheries, but up to Rs 2 lakh. With this, Karnataka will be the first state to introduce zero per cent loan in dairy and fisheries.
However, farmers who want to avail of loans in all three or more than two sectors, cannot exceed an amount of Rs 3 lakh. There are 14 cooperative milk societies with more than 25 lakh members in Karnataka. Of them, at least 10 lakh farmers supply milk. Similarly, around 6,000 fishermen are members of various fishery societies. The zero-interest loan is for all of them.
A senior cooperation department official said this is the first of its kind in India. “We are aware of many people, especially youngsters, returning to their villages. They can take up fisheries or dairying, and avail of the loan. We have instructed officials to take up applications and disburse loans,’’ an official said.
The department of fisheries is also checking the possibility of including health card and other facilities for fisher folk located in coastal districts.