Karnataka Speaker cautions against loan waiver becoming a ‘fashion’

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New Delhi:

On the eve of the Congress-JDS coalition government’s first budget, Karnataka Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar on Wednesday said loan waiver should not become a “fashion”.

Loan waiver is needed to relieve farmers in distress but “let loan waiver not become a fashion,” Kumar said following the discussions on farm loan waiver ahead of the coalition government’s first budget on Thursday.

Kumar then questioned why no one was talking about making farmers capable of paying back.

“We will get to know about the Chief Minister’s promise on loan waiver in the budget tomorrow. But my question is what will happen if he (farmer) takes loan again and is unable to pay back. Everyone is speaking of loan waiver, but no one wants to speak about making farmers capable of paying back,” the speaker said.

“Giving farmers remunerative prices for their produce, fixing the price of chemicals, pesticides, fertilisers, seeds and other inputs at favourable rates, along with maintaining the soil quality are the things we need to look into,” he said.

The Speaker’s intervention came during the debate on the motion of thanks to the Governor for his address to the joint session of legislature in the assembly, when BJP member Sriramulu said there was no mention about farm loan waiver in it, as promised by Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy.

The Kumaraswamy-led government is expected to announce crop loan waiver in the budget, to address the farmers’ plight.

Pointing out that there are “Stree Shakti” groups whose loans also need to be waived, Kumar said, “we will have to look at these things and think about it with fairness”.

(With inputs from agencies)

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