With the Karnataka Government announcing a waiver of short term loans of farmers till Rs.50,000 from cooperative banks, the state's Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, T.B. Jayachandra, said Wednesday that a certain amount of relief will be provided to farmers through this decision.
"The Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill has passed now and we don't know the consequences, whether we are losing money or gaining anything. In such circumstances, to take this bold decision is very difficult. But, we have taken this decision in the interest of the farmers of Karnataka. At least to some extent, we will try to give relief to these farmers," Jayachandra told media here.
He added that farmers for the last four years have been facing a drought situation, they have lost their crops and they are not realising any remunerative prices for their crops.
"That's the reason we have decided to finally safeguard the interest of farmers. Karnataka is interested in getting the loans waived," he asserted.
Meanwhile, Karnataka Agriculture Minister Krishna Byre Gowda said the state government has given many incentives to farmers directly and indirectly.
"For instance, the energy bill that the government pays on behalf of farmers is close to Rs. 9000 crores per year. Many other states charge for electricity from farmers, whereas in Karnataka, the government pays on behalf of the farmers. We also give farmers incentives on milk production, as for every litre of milk, we give about Rs. 5 in a year that comes to about Rs. 203,000 crores every year," he added.
Gowda further said that interest free loans of about Rs. 1000 crores are given to the farmers per year.
"Various bonus priced we give on top of Minimum Support Price (MSP) when we intervene in the market, the government steps in and Karnataka is one of the very few states which gives very liberal bonus price over and above the MSP," he added.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah today announced a waiver of short term loans of farmers till Rs. 50,000 availed till June 20, 2017 from cooperative banks.
With this, loans worth Rs. 8165 crores will be waived, which will benefit around 22,27,506 farmers across state.
The chief minister said that Karnataka is 'pro-farmer', and is the first state in the country to transfer input subsidies directly to the farmers' bank accounts.
Karnataka's move to help farmers' comes in the wake of similar actions by the governments of Maharashtra and Punjab earlier this month.