Government is only 'thinking of' waiver of cooperative farm loan…

Special Correspondent
A clear-cut announcement on this is expected in the Budget

State’s industrial infrastructure to get a boost
Government plans to set up SEZs in tier-two cities

IN DETAIL: Governor T.N. Chaturvedi addressing the joint Legislature session in Bangalore on Thursday. — Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

Bangalore: The Governor’s address has put to rest the recent confusion over the proposed waiver of cooperative farm loans, with a clear statement that the Government “is only thinking” of such a move in the interests of farmers.

The confusion in political circles, in particular between Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy and Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, thus apparently looks settled for the present. A clear-cut announcement is expected on this in the ensuing Budget.

Welfare initiatives

In his address to the joint session of the State Legislature here on Thursday, Governor T.N. Chaturvedi referred to the people’s welfare initiatives undertaken by the Government, including the proposed waiver of farm loans, the proposed ban on arrack from the coming excise year and the implementation of the financial package provided by the Centre to prevent farmers’ suicides.

The Governor referred to the buoyant financial position in the State, which enabled the Government to add several new welfare schemes, including provision of bicycles to high school boys and girls from below poverty line families, and the recent scheme to constitute a Greater Bangalore Development Authority.

The Governor said the Government was “thinking of” waiving the loans obtained by farmers from cooperative institutions and the loan waiver scheme would be implemented with funds obtained by retrieval of encroached lands in Bangalore and their disposal as per rules.

“A comprehensive study is being made as to the quantum of loans to be waived and the categories of farmers.”

Meanwhile, the Government has constituted a Cabinet subcommittee to oversee the implementation of a special package (Rs. 2,689.64 crore) of the Centre, announced for six districts (Belgaum, Hassan, Chikmagalur, Chitradurga, Shimoga and Kodagu) of the State where a high incidence of farmers’ suicides have been reported.

He also announced a two-pronged approach to step up industrial infrastructure in the State in line with the industrial policy announced recently. The Government would acquire land wherever feasible and form industrial layouts to an extent of at least 5,000 acres a year in order to meet the surging demand.

Further, to upgrade the quality of industrial infrastructure in the industrial estates, Rs. 500 crore would be provided by the Government.

Mega SEZ

The Governor said apart from the establishment of special economic zones by the private sector, a mega SEZ dedicated to the petroleum sector had also been planned in Mangalore. The Government was also committed to establishing SEZs in tier-two cities apart from the approval received for establishing SEZs at Hassan, Shimoga and Mangalore.

Yet another announcement related to a new system in the distribution of foodgrains. He said action was being taken to adopt the unit system wherein all ration cardholders would be eligible for a maximum of 25 kg — 20 kg of rice and 5 kg of wheat.

With reference to the information technology and bio-technology sectors, the Governor said the Government would organise a Bangalore Nano event this year.

Of the 208 new IT companies which were commissioned last year, four were listed among the Fortune 500 companies and 11 were billion-dollar companies. The biotech sector had also witnessed a big growth with an investment of over Rs. 500 crore and the entry of 35 new biotech companies, he added.

In the field of e-governance, the Government would soon commission an e-procurement platform and to begin with it would be implemented in select departments.

Karnataka considering loan waiver for farmers

By Indo Asian News Service
Bangalore, Jan 25 (IANS) Karnataka Governor T.N. Chaturvedi Thursday said the state government was thinking of waiving loans obtained by farmers from cooperative institutions.

‘A comprehensive study is being made to decide the quantum of loans to be waived and to which category of farmers,’ Chaturvedi declared in his address to the winter session of the joint state legislature in the Vidhana Soudha here.
The government is set to mobilise resources for the loan waiver scheme from the revenue likely to accrue from the retrieval of encroached lands in and around the Karnataka capital and their disposal as per rules.
The state government had recently set up a special task force in the revenue department to recover the encroached lands, which have been identified by a joint legislature committee. It is estimated that about 18,000 acres of government land have been encroached over the years in and around the city.
‘My government has issued an ordinance Dec 11 prescribing imprisonment and fine for any one who unlawfully enters or occupies government land or creates forged documents on government lands or sells agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes without getting such land converted under the Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1964,’ Chaturvedi told the members.
Expressing grave concern over the farmers’ suicides reported from various places in the state, the governor appealed to the farming community not to take such extreme step and assured them of his government’s commitment to protect their interests and fulfil their aspirations.
‘Karnataka is the first state in the country to provide agriculture loan to farmers at four percent. The new agriculture policy, announced recently, will provide permanent relief to farmers from most of the problems they are facing and improve their quality of life,’ Chaturvedi said.
Referring to the centre’s special package for the six districts in the state where high incidence of farmers’ suicides was reported, he said a cabinet sub-committee had been constituted to oversee its implementation.
‘Besides providing seeds by subsidising 75 percent of the cost to farmers during this fiscal (2006-07), my government is bringing a legislation to help farmers market their products directly to end users,’ he said.
The governor also announced his government was considering a ban on the manufacture and sale of arrack from April 1 to protect the life of common people.
Copyright Indo-Asian News Service