NATIONAL NEWS

Karnataka seeks 50% central aid for farm loan waiver

New Delhi/Bengaluru, June 17: Flagging the agrarian crisis gripping the country, Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy on Sunday urged the Central government to bear 50 per cent of the farm loans the state government plans to waive soon. “As we are ready to waive loans to free farmers from debt, I request the Central government to provide 50 per cent financial support to our initiative,” he said at the fourth meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog here. Admitting that about 85 lakh farmers across the southern state were in debt for raising bank loans, he said they were in distress due to recurring droughts and crop failures over the years. “As the newly-formed coalition government has to fulfil many aspirations of the people, we need the Centre’s support in our endeavour despite the ruling parties having different political ideologies,” said Kumaraswamy.

Addressing the gathering that included Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Ministers, other Chief Ministers and NITI Aayog members, Kumaraswamy said as climate change was a reality, the Central government should use expertise to develop framework, strategies and practices to usher in a climate resilient agriculture revolution in the country. “As a leader in agricultural marketing reforms, our state has brought many transformations that were studied by the central government and incorporated in the e-NAM (electronic National Agriculture Market),” he said. The state’s Unified Market Platform (UPM) also helped farmers as rate for their produce is being determined through competitive price discovery method. “We are following a unique method for location of grids in soil sampling, which is GIS-GPS enabled. We have also developed an Android application “Soil Sample Collector” for mobile devices,” he noted.

Through a web service, soil sampling database is integrated with the Bhoomi (land records) database and the state data integrated with the Soil Health Card portal of NIC, New Delhi. “We are committed to continue this innovative programme for the benefit of farmers,” Kumaraswamy asserted in his maiden address at the event, made available to IANS by his office in Bengaluru. Noting that water was becoming a scarce resource that would limit growth in the farm and other sectors, the Chief Minister said the state government had taken initiatives to rejuvenate lakes and charge water bodies. (IANS)