As many as 13,63,850 farmers will be beneficiaries of extended scheme
Burden on the Government will now be Rs. 1,950 crore New scheme will cost an additional Rs. 450 crore
BANGALORE: Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, who announced a cooperative farm loan waiver scheme in the Budget, went a step further on Thursday by extending it to a larger number of farmers, weavers and fishermen, which should cost the exchequer an additional Rs. 450 crore.
Much to the surprise of both the Opposition and even the Ministers and legislators on the ruling side, Mr. Yediyurappa made a suo motu statement in the Legislative Assembly on the enhanced waiver scheme. In the Budget, the scheme was applicable only to farmers who have obtained short-term crop loans amounting up to Rs. 25,000, after April 1, 2006. Under the extended scheme, it will be applicable to farmers who have obtained loans amounting up to Rs. 50,000 from February 1, 2006.
Of the loans amounting up to Rs. 50,000 obtained by the farmers, the first part (Rs. 25,000) will be waived, and the remaining eligible for a waiver of interest provided the principal amount (balance of Rs. 25,000) was paid before March 31. The Congress legislators staged a walkout demanding that all loan dues of farmers should be waived, while leaders of political parties such as Vatal Nagaraj and G.V. Srirama Reddy staged a dharna in the well of the House demanding that the waiver should have a cap of Rs. 1 lakh.
Mr. Yediyurappa said 13,63,850 farmers would become the beneficiaries under the extended scheme. Under the scheme announced in the budget, the burden on the Government was estimated to be Rs. 1,505 crore. It will be Rs. 1,950 crore under the extended scheme.
The fresh loan waiver scheme figured in the Legislative Council too and the Deputy Chief Minister's statement was read out by the leader of the House and Minister for Higher Education D.H. Shankaramurthy.