Bengaluru: Reiterating that the state’s fiscal position was sound, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy turned the tables on public sector banks, accusing them of reneging on their promise on waiver of loans, on Tuesday.
Participating in a Meet the Press programme jointly organised by Press Club of Bangalore and Bangalore Reporters' Guild here on Tuesday, Mr Kumaraswamy said discussions were still underway with these banks on the question of waiver of loans. There were allegations that the state treasury was empty as the government diverted funds for farm loan waiver scheme. However, while presenting Rs 2.18 lakh crore budget, government had earmarked money for farm loan waiver. During that budget itself, Rs 6500 crore was earmarked for waiving off bank loans. However, these banks developed cold feet and were not responding at the moment. The Chairman of Syndicate Bank called up and offered to resume discussions. So far, the state government has cleared Rs 9458 crores farm loan installments, including Rs 3300 crore loan due, which was announced during vote on account by then chief minister Mr Siddaramaiah, the Chief Minister added.
Admitting that rumours about longevity of the government was biggest hurdle in implementing developmental schemes, Mr Kumaraswamy said officials tend to take it easy, whenever such rumours are afloat. Opposition says that the government had not taken off and no developmental works are taking place. The government order for over 80% of the promises made during budget as well as previous vote on account by Mr Siddaramaiah government. Though this is election year, spending of budgetary allocation has been 38%, compared to the 37% during 2013-14, which was also election year, he added.
Despite such hurdles in the last 150 days, government had initiated repair of government schools and college buildings at a cost of Rs 1200 crores. The social welfare department, which has Rs 22000 crore budgetary allocations, has been directed to upgrade the residential schools and hostels. This would help at least 58000 schoolchildren, he added. Besides, the government sanctioned additional Rs 500 crore to PWD, apart from Rs 1700 crore to improve the roads. There was demand by coalition partners that seven kg rice in PDS should continue and the government needed additional Rs 1500-2000 crore for that. That was given from budget. The PRR road, which was notified during earlier coalition government 12 years ago was still in discussion stage, but cost had escalated five times. The project would see light of the day during next cabinet. The government would allocate Rs 2000 crore for present year and another Rs 4500 crore by next year, Mr Kumaraswamy said.