BJP-JD(S) govt fixes lowest ever farm loan rate
The Karnataka Development Front (KDF) government constituting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Janata Dal (Secular) [JD(S)] on March 20 took the most pro-farmer step in fixing the rate of interest on crop loans taken from co-operatives at just four per cent, which neither the Union government nor any state government has done so far, despite the suicide by thousands of farmers who were unable to pay back loans taken at high rate of interest.
Presenting the Front'sfirst budget to the State Assembly, Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister B.S. Yediyurappa (BJP) announced this unprecedented step which should bring cheers among the lakhs of farmers in the state impoverished by banks and even co-operative credit societies so far.
The interest rates had ruled over 10 per cent, sometimes even 13 or 14 per cent in the past. Only during the NDA regime, Agriculture Minister Shri Rajnath Singh had proposed nine per cent interest. Some weeks ago the Union Finance Minister had fixed nine per cent interest on crop loans upto a limit of Rs 3 lakhs. During his budget speech on February 28, however, he announced an interest rate of seven per cent and also granted a concession to loanee farmers by paying two per cent of their debt burdens by payment to their bank accounts by March 31, 2006.
However, a four per cent rate of interest is something never attempted before and farmers all over the country would certainly welcome this outstanding pro-farmer step taken by the BJP-JD(S) government. One only wishes that the Centre and other states should follow suit in view of the pitiable plight the farmers in the country have to face these days, despite their sterling performance in taking up the challenge of ushering in the green revolution in 1968 and continually giving the country exportable surplus food grains and other farm produce all these years.-AG