Kumaraswamy announces farm loan waiver, keeps poll promise

PTI

Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy presents the government's first budget at Vidhana Soudha

Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy presents the government’s first budget at Vidhana Soudha

Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, on Thursday, announced a mega Rs 34,000 crore farm loan waiver scheme in the maiden budget of the Congress-JD(S) coalition government in the state.

Unveiling the budget proposals in the Assembly, Kumaraswamy, who also holds the finance portfolio, said he has limited the loan amount to Rs 2 lakh, as it was “not right” to waiver higher value crop loan.

“Due to this crop loan waiver scheme, farmers will get the benefit of Rs 34,000 crore,” Kumaraswamy announced, fulfilling a major electoral promise made by the JD(S) in its manifesto for the recently held assembly polls in the state.

Kumaraswamy said he had decided to waive all defaulted crop loans of the farmers made up to December 31, 2017 in the first stage.

Besides this, it has been decided to credit the repaid loan amount or Rs 25,000, whichever is less, to each of the farmers account, to help farmers who had repaid the loan within time, the chief minister announced.

The families of the government officials and officials of the cooperative sector, farmers who have paid income-tax for the past three years and other ineligible farm loan recipients will be outside the purview of the loan waiver scheme.

With the waiver scheme imposing a huge burden on the exchequer, he also announced proposals to mop up additional revenues. An increase in the rate of tax on petrol by Rs 1.14 per litre and diesel by Rs 1.12 per litre was also announced. He also proposed a hike in the additional excise duty on Indian-made liquor by 4 per cent across the board on all 18 slabs.

(With inputs from PTI)