Bengaluru: The H.D. Kumaraswamy government gave a Varamahalakshmi festival gift to farmers and agri-labourers on Friday fulfilling one of its biggest promises made during the Assembly elections by deciding to waive off farm loans availed by farmers from nationalised banks. It also decided to promulgate a Debt relief ordinance to give relief to farm labourers. The twin decisions of the government will benefit every BPL family in one way or the other. Addressing media persons along with his deputy, Dr G. Parameshwar after the state cabinet meeting here, Mr Kumaraswamy said, “We are here to fulfil our promise and from today onwards, no nationalised bank, Regional Rural Bank or commercial bank official will harass our farmers. The state government will clear total unpaid crop loans amounting to Rs 30,163 crore in four yearly instalments. This sum includes Rs 7419 crore interest too.”
He added that as promised, Rs 25000 of crop loans per family will be waived. “In total, 16.94 lakh farmer loans in the state have to be repaid, while as many as 6.27 lakh farmers have taken fresh loans this year. This means nearly 23 lakh farming families across the state will be availing this scheme,” he explained. The CM also said the state government has appointed two IAS officers as nodal officers to expedite the implementation of this scheme. Taking potshots at Opposition leader, B. S. Yeddyurappa without taking his name, Mr Kumaraswamy wondered what he would have to say about this decision? “I proved today that I walk the talk. In the Assembly some people give fiery speeches, but I work hard to achieve what I say,” he retorted.
Mr Kumarswamy said the state government will promulgate an ordinance on debt relief, which was promulgated once in the 1970s to give debt relief to the poor in the state. “This is a unique Act, which needs the President’s approval. We will be sending this soon to the President. If the Act is approved, the loans taken by the poor from money lenders will be waived off completely. Money lender cannot harass anybody from now on,” he declared. He added that this Act will not have any effect on private money leaders who are running their business under RBI rules on money lending. “This Act strictly prohibits private money lender from harassing the poor, whose income is below Rs 1.25 lakh annually or whose landholding is less than half an acre of irrigated land or two hectares of dry land,” he explained.