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HD Kumaraswamy’s pet loan waiver scheme may be on its way out

The B S Yediyurappa administration is looking to end the ambitious crop loan waiver scheme his predecessor H D Kumaraswamy had launched, as banks have been given a January 31 deadline to contact farmers who have been left out. 

Over 1.13 lakh farmers have been left out of the waiver scheme as their Aadhaar, ration cards and land records – mandatory for farmers claiming the loan waiver – have not been recorded as the details appear to be non-existent. The government is making last-ditch attempts to bring them under the waiver net. 

‘Bogus documents’

“Still, we have asked banks to reach out to these farmers, issue notices and bring them onboard,” an official involved in the implementation of the crop loan waiver scheme said. “In fact, the State Bank of India has now started using public announcement systems in villages calling for farmers to submit their details for the loan waiver.” Authorities even suspect that these could be bogus documents. 

Internally, banks have been informed that after January 31, the government will begin winding up the loan waiver scheme, sources said. 

The crop loan waiver was Kumaraswamy’s poll promise, which he implemented even as he shared power with the Congress amid concerns that it would hit the state’s finances. The waiver covered loans between April 2009 and December 2017. It  involved crediting Rs 25,000 into the accounts of farmers with regular loans and crediting up to Rs 2 lakh in all other loan accounts, including non-performing assets (NPA). 

Till date, the government has paid commercial banks Rs 6,138.83 crore towards crop loan accounts of 8.78 lakh farmers. In the cooperative sector, the government paid Rs 7,410 crore for 15.95 lakh crop loan accounts. The process was anchored by an online system under IAS officer
Munish Moudgil. 

To take the loan waiver scheme closer to the finish line, the government has approved a payment of Rs 500 crore to commercial banks, the first release under the BJP regime, which will cover about 3.25 lakh beneficiaries in whose accounts Rs 1.75 lakh has been credited. 

Rs 25k incentive

“The Rs 500 crore that will be released to commercial banks is the Rs 25,000 incentive,” the official said. “We hadn’t credited this thinking that farmers who are yet to be covered under the scheme may belong to the same family that has already received Rs 1.75 lakh. But
then, the government has decided to credit Rs 25,000 anyways, as it’ll benefit farmers after all.” 

After the release of Rs 500 crore, the government will be left with Rs 1,000 crore for the loan waiver.