Waiving farm loans is likely going to be one of the first decisions that HD Kumaraswamy takes as Karnataka Chief Minister. “I am going to waive off farmers’ loans,” Kumaraswamy told reporters in Bengaluru after being sworn in as chief minister.
In its election manifesto, the JD (S) had promised to implement a farm-loan waiver scheme within 24 hours of coming to power. The loan waiver would include crop and horticulture loans, and medium-term loans, the poll document said. The party had also promised free seeds and fertilisers to farmers.
BJP leader B S Yeddyurappa, who lasted as chief minister for two days, last week announced that he would waive loans to the tune of Rs one lakh for farmers in the state. The move was, however, stalled as senior bureaucrats sought time to work out the financials modalities of such loan waiver scheme. The BJP had also announced in its manifesto that it would waive farmers’ loans within 24 hours of coming to power.
The JD (S) had contested Yeddyurappa’s decision as he was yet to prove his government’s majority in the newly constituted assembly. Yeddyurappa’s predecessor Siddaramaiah had waived farm loans upto Rs 50,000 obtained from co-operative banks but did not waive loans from nationalised banks, saying this would have serious implications on the state if it was not supported by the central government. The Congress had been urging the BJP government in Delhi to come to the rescue of farmers by waiving loans from nationalised banks as has been done in Maharashtra and Punjab.