Rs. 50-crore scheme to help agriculturists grow seeds

The waiver of all crops loans, up to a maximum of Rs. 25,000, taken by farmers from cooperative societies over the past year will be waived in accordance with the announcement made by Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar on the floor of the legislature.

Briefing presspersons here on Thursday after a meeting of the State Cabinet, Minister for Primary and Secondary Education Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri said the waiver would apply to loans taken between August 1, 2011 and July 25, 2012. An estimated 15 lakh farmers will benefit and the waiver will cost the State government Rs. 3,500 crore. A Government Order will be issued with immediate effect.

In another decision to help the drought-stricken farmers of the State, the Cabinet has decided to implement a scheme for agriculturists to grow seeds and market them with the support of the Karnataka Seeds Development Corporation. A sum of Rs. 50 crore had been allocated for this scheme which will also be used for installing equipments to grade seeds and construction of seed godowns. The scheme will also help in a drastic reduction on the dependence of branded seeds and their shortage, which leads to panic buying and black-marketing.

The Cabinet approved a proposal to grant Rs. 500 travel allowance to all food inspectors (4,450) and Shiristedhars (154) earmarking Rs. 500 for each one of them to be provided with a SIM card of the BSNL. The allowances have been given to the food inspectors and the Shiristedhars to enable them to communicate with the local people who have to be in constant touch with them.

Mr. Kageri said clearance had also been given for the development of 30 km of rural roads in each of the 189 rural legislative Assembly constituencies. Of a total length of 50 km of roads in each constituency, which was slated for development initially, the Department of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj had either already developed or was in the process of developing 20 km at a cost of Rs. 1,750 crore . The development of the remaining 30 km would now be undertaken at a cost of Rs. 2,160 crore.

The Cabinet decided to bring 19 private law colleges under the ambit of the grant-in-aid code as per the recommendation of the N.A. Muthanna committee, which was submitted in 1994. Of the 24 private law colleges which had been identified (as per the report), five are now defunct. The grants to the law colleges are being provided since there are very few Government law colleges in the State irrespective of a big demand for law graduates.

Housing

Mr. Kageri said a proposal of the Department of Housing seeking approval for 53 housing schemes of the Karnataka Housing Board had been approved. The formation of a layout, be it only for residential sites or for construction of houses, is considered a housing scheme and the total cost of the 53 housing schemes is estimated at Rs. 7,888 crore. It will help the KHB form 1.34 lakh residential sites and the construction of 6,867 houses, across the State, basically for the benefit of the economically weaker sections of society.

The other important decisions of the Cabinet include rescheduling the coal purchase by the Udupi Power Company Limited, enhancing the ceiling from Rs. 10 lakh to Rs. 15 lakh (cost of vehicle) on charging life time tax on private taxis and maxicabs, to provide 38.38 acres of land at Krishnarajapuram in Bangalore to the NIMHANS to expand its medical facilities and constructing a residential school for Muslims at Srirangapatna in Mandya district.