Loan waiver will give farmers' relief: Karnataka Minister

The move has lent credence to reports of the Congress preparing to go in for early assembly polls.

Karnataka has joined the list of the states that have announced loan waiver for farmers in recent times.

By waiving off loans partially from state-run cooperative banks, Siddaramaiah has put the ball in the centre's court.

The chief minister's decision to waive off farmers' loans up to Rs 50,000 will benefit around 22, 27, 506 farmers in the state.

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Post Maharashtra and UP loan waiver, the company saw marginal improvement in collection rates. "The chief minister may deny it".

Crop loans obtained from cooperative banks amount to just 20 per cent, while 80 per cent is from nationalised and grameen banks that come under the ambit of the Central government, he added. "I appeal to Siddaramaiah to doube the cooperative loans waiver limit to Rs 1 lakh", said Chandrashekar, an independent lawmaker who represents Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha.

Even without factoring in the loan waivers, the gross state development loans issued by the state governments are to rise from Rs 3.8 lakh crore in 2016-17 to Rs 4.5 lakh crore in 2017-18, according to an Icra estimate. And if Modi refuses, he and the BJP will be portrayed as "anti-poor" and "anti-farmer" by the Congress. Many other states charge for electricity from farmers, whereas in Karnataka, the government pays on behalf of the farmers.

Siddaramaiah appears to have relented after a nudge from Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi. "We also give farmers incentives on milk production", he said. The revised rule allows farmers owning vehicle up to Rs 10 lakh to take loan advance under the inititaive.

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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had yesterday said that the Centre was not considering any proposal for farm loan waiver, and it intends to adhere to the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act and fiscal deficit targets.

The total farm loans in Karnataka stands at over Rs1.16 trillion.

This was followed by Rs 30,000 crore farm loan waiver in Maharashtra amidst large-scale protests.

Keeping up the poll promise, Uttar Pradesh was the first state this year to announce Rs 36,359 crore farm debt waiver for small and marginal farmers.

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