From Karnataka, A Reality Check On Farm Loan Waivers

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Bhadramma grows tomatoes, maize and potatoes on her one acre land in Karnataka’s Doddaballapur Taluk. Like millions of farmers across the country, she took a loan to help improve her condition – a loan that has now been waived by the Karnataka government.

“I could not repay the loan because there was no rain and no crop. Here, they asked for my Aadhaar card, my ration card and my land papers. It was an easy process,” she told NDTV.

Doddaballapur is one of the two taluks, along with Sedam in Kalburgi district that were chosen as pilot areas for the loan waiver scheme.

Bhadramma is one of almost 27,000 Karnataka farmers who have received their cooperative bank loan waiver certificates at a total cost of almost 150 crores. But the number ahead is huge. Karnataka plans to waive loans upto 2 lakhs for as many as 44 lakh farmers at an estimated cost of 48 000 crores.

The loan limit for a waiver is Rs. 2 lakh and what is being waived now is an initial Rs. 50,000 per loan.

Authorities say the months between the promise and the start of delivery – a delay that has led to mockery from the BJP – were taken up by verifying documents.

Karigowda, District Collector of Bengaluru Rural, said “It has started now and we have made sure it is very simple for the farmers.”

There is software to check the status of the loan waiver for those who have taken loans from cooperative banks. The documents to be submitted are not complicated.

Muniyapppa, a farmer who has received the certificate, confirmed that.  “They ask for Aadhaar or ration card, land papers…that is all…,” he said.

Clearance from national banks appears to be much slower than from cooperative banks.

Narasappa, a farmer, had come to the Taluk panchayat office in Doddaballapur to try to help. “I gave my papers a month ago to my bank, but I don’t know the status of my loan waiver. This was a loan from a national bank,” he told NDTV. He added, “I don’t know how much benefit the farmers are actually getting. The government says one thing, the banks say another.”

Those who have received the waiver do of course welcome it. For the millions still waiting – it is a promise they hope will be fulfilled.