Updated: July 25, 2019 8:34:03 pm
The Karnataka government will waive the loans taken by small farmers and landless labourers as part of the one-time debt relief scheme.
On Wednesday, caretaker Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy had announced his parting gift ‘Karnataka Debt Relief Bill’, a day after losing the trust vote in the state assembly. The bill, which was passed by the state legislature in February 2019, received President Ram Nath Kovind’s assent on July 16. The state government issued the implementing order on July 23.
“This programme will waive off loans taken from money lenders and other private lenders by the landless labourers, small farmers and poorer sections of the society as a one time measure. The persons from weaker sections should submit the loan details to the Assistant Commissioners of their district in 90 days to avail this one-time relief,” Kumaraswamy had said while speaking to media. Follow Karnataka LIVE updates
The debtors, whose annual income does not exceed Rs 1.2 lakhs per annum and the debtor who does not hold more than 2 units (4 hectares) of land, can avail the benefit which came into effect from Tuesday. “All types of borrowings, including hand loans, availed loans from pawn brokers, money lenders and other informal sources of credit will be covered under the Act. There is no upper limit,” the caretaker chief minister added.
Once the officer receives the application by the farmers or debtors, he will conduct an inquiry and pass an order releasing the mortgaged property and grant a certificate in the prescribed form, which is admissible as evidence in any proceedings before any court or other authority.
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According to the Act, any person, who fails to comply with the direction of the officer or contravening the provisions of the Act, can be punished with imprisonment for a term, which may extend to one year and with a fine which may extend to Rs. 1 lakh. Kumaraswamy also said the Act was modelled after a similar law passed when D Devaraj Urs was the chief minister of Karnataka.
Most of the farmers in Karnataka have taken debt due to the severe drought in the state. Of 176 talukas, 156 have been listed as drought-hit following the failure of the northeast monsoon between October and December 2018. Of these, 107 talukas have been listed as having severe drought conditions and 49 under moderate drought conditions by the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre.
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