Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah set to waive off 50% of farmers' loans: Will Modi support state's farmers?

Shekhar H Hooli

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has said that his government plans to waive off agricultural loans to the extent of 50 percent and has written to the prime Minister requesting his and the centre's support to the farmers of Karnataka.

The Twitter handle of the CM of Karnataka‏ has released the request letter that was sent to Modi. "The state of Karnataka is reeling under drought continuously for the last 6 years. The Government of Karnataka has declared 135 taluks in 2015-16 and 160 taluks in 2016-17 as drought-affected," reads a statement in the CM's letter to the PM.

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"The persistent droughts have caused even more suffering to the people in general, and farmers in particular, due to non-availability of drinking water and fodder for animals. The State government is talking all necessary steps to mitigate these problems. Farmers are also facing extreme hardship due to crop failure, which is making it difficult for them to repay the loans they have borrowed from the banks and co-operatives," the statement adds.

The letter further states that 55.79 lakh farmers have availed Rs 52,881.91 crore from commercial, RRBs (regional rural banks) and co-operative banks. Commercial and RRBs have given 80.05 pecent of the loans, while the co-operative banks contributed 19.95 percent to the total.

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The Government of Karnataka is ready to waive off 50 percent of the loan availed from co-operatives. Siddaramaiah has requested the prime minister and the centre to waive off 50 percent of the agricultural loans availed from commercial banks and RRBs.

Besides tweeting the letter, the CM of Karnataka‏ also wrote: "In light of persistent drought in Ktaka, our govt is taking measures to mitigate suffering of citizens, esp farmers reeling under crop loss. In the recent State Legislature session, members of all parties have demanded waiver of agricultural loans availed by farmers in our State."

CM Siddaramaiah added: "Majority of farmers have availed loans from commerical & other banks. I have written to @PMOIndia requesting GoI to consider their plight. I request @PMOIndia to consider waiving 50% of agricultural loans availed by our farmers from commercial, private & regional rural banks. Our Government in Karnataka can consider a similar initiative of waiving agricultural loans availed from Coop banks to extent of 50%."

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