Karnataka CM woos farmers with 0% loans up to ₹3 lakh

Our Bureau Bengaluru | Updated on February 16, 2018

New scheme, ‘Raitha Belaku’, to give direct income assistance to dryland farmers

In an election year, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has offered an attractive zero per cent loans of up to ₹3 lakh for farmers and extended direct income support of ₹5,000 per hectare for those in dryland regions.

“Loans of up to ₹3 lakh and zero interest is being provided for the first time in the country. In addition to this, loans of ₹3-10 lakh is being provided at an interest rate of three per cent,” said Siddaramaiah.

The Budget proposes waiving off a full interest of amount of ₹124.70 crore with respect to farm loans overdue as of September 30, 2015 and for those who have paid the principal amount within March 31, 2017. “In the last four years, an interest amount of ₹2,359 crore of 10.7 lakh farmers have been waived off,” he said.

On June 20, 2017, the government had waived cooperative loans of up to ₹50,000 of farmers. With this, a loan amount totalling ₹8,165 crore of 22.27 lakh farmers has been waived.

“Agriculture is the priority sector of our government. In each of my Budgets, I have been giving a big share of the State’s income to agriculture.

“This can be seen on reviewing of my previous Budget too. I had allocated around ₹40,000 crore in the last Budget for the development of farmers.”

Among the new schemes proposed for farmers is ‘Raita Belaku’, a direct-income support scheme to protect the interest of rain-deprived, dryland farming communities.

“Under this scheme, during 2018-19, ₹5,000 per hectare — subject to a maximum of ₹10,000 for each farmer — will be distributed for growing rain-fed crops.

“This will be directly transferred to the bank accounts of farmers. This scheme entails an expenditure of ₹3,500 crore every year, and around 70 lakh farmers will be benefited,” the Chief Minister said.

Other schemes include construction of farm ponds and poly houses, distribution of soil-health cards, 90 per cent subsidy on sprinkler irrigation for farmers of all communities, providing farm machinery and farm equipment to farmers on rental, and milk produce subsidy.

Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies are being established in all Grama Panchayats; godowns are being constructed at agricultural produce markets at a cost of ₹ 5 crore each.

Farmer suicides

Measures such as waiver of old loans, interest-free new loans, fair support price and strong actions against money lenders, have mitigated the miseries of farmers and raised hopes in their life, Siddaramaiah said. As a result, there has been a decline in the number of farmer suicides in the State, which is a matter of satisfaction, the CM added.

Online market system

The State’s implementation of the online market system to ensure fair price to farmers and prevent the menace of middlemen, has become a model for the country.

“This has been implemented in 157 agricultural markets in the State. Even NITI Aayog has appreciated this for the reason that this has enhanced the income of the farmers by 38 per cent. This government is determined to make farming a profitable profession for all classes of farmers without being under anybody’s obligation.”

Published on February 16, 2018

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