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Rs 46,000 crore loan waiver commitment to be met ‘completely’ in budget: K’taka CM

Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy has announced that he will fulfill his Rs 46,000 crore loan waiver commitment made to farmers “completely” in the Congress-JDS coalition government’s second budget that he is scheduled to present on February 8.

The farm loan waiver scheme would be implemented in one stroke with required allocation in the budget instead of completing the process in four stages as was planned earlier, he said, as he took on the state and national BJP leadership for their relentless attack on him on the issue.

Kumaraswamy has come in the line of fire of BJP leadership, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been mocking the scheme, saying it had only offered a “lollipop” for an insignificant number of farmers.

The JDS leader was also critical of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh for his reported comment at the BJP National Convention meet in New Delhi on Friday that the state government had promised waiver but was issuing notice to farmers for loan recovery.

Kumaraswamy said that notices were being issued by nationalised banks that come under the central government.

“This shows the mean mentality of BJP leaders. This shows how lightly they have taken the issue of solving farmers’ worries.”

“…February 8. I will present a new budget of 2019-20. We have announced as a cabinet decision that loan waiver will be in four stages, we will not take it to four stages,” Kumaraswamy told agencies in an interview.

“We are working out on that. In the coming budget I will be clearing the complete loan waiver. I will not take four years. I want to bring it to the notice of central BJP leaders — it is not lollipop,” he said.

Kumaraswamy asserted that it would be done without violating the fiscal responsibility.

Seeking to implement a key poll promise of the JDS, the Kumaraswamy government had announced over Rs 46,000-crore loan waiver scheme in July. But it has been bogged down by several issues, particularly relating to nationalised banks.

While defending the time taken in implementing loan waiver, the Chief Minister said, the state’s scheme would become a model for other states in the days to come.

He said guidelines for implementation of farm loan waiver scheme by his government would become a model for any government in future that decides to waive loans.

Noting that till January 11, loan waiver has reached 1,70,000 farmers for which about Rs 900 crore money has been released, he highlighted that in the budget presented in July after coming to power, Rs 9,000 crore was already allocated for loan waiver in the first year.

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