It's been five months since Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy took oath and assumed office. Ever since he took on the mantle, there have been several challenges in his way. The biggest of the lot is the farm loan waiver.
Many members in the opposition had raised doubts about the Congress-JD(S) government's plan to waive farm loans. Some even called it populist, and the latest in that row to question their intent is Chikkabalapura Congress MLA Sudhakar.
Sudhakar said, "Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy has implemented farm loan waiver with a good intention. He did it with the help of Congress party. During former CM Siddaramaiah's tenure the government waived farm loans worth around 8,000 crore rupees. We had planned it well in advance and kept aside some funds for it. But after JD(S) formed the government they waived farm loans because it was one of their poll promises. I think they did not think about the state's economic condition and hurried it up while implementing the decision. I hope all issues get over soon. We're facing some problems now. We've not been able to settle bills for those development works which were done over a year ago. How will they work for us if this situation exists. This problem is statewide."
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Estimates suggest that the government incurred Rs 34,000 crore to waive farm loans. Government reports suggest that around 15 lakh farmers could be benefited from the scheme. But the bigger worry is the impact it has had on the state's coffers.
The BJP took a swipe at Kumaraswamy for the crisis. "The finance ministry under Kumaraswamy has failed to make contingency measures and this is what has resulted in the government defaulting on paying bills. The government did not think about generating revenue and maintain balance. No development activities have taken place in the last 5 months," said Prakash, Spokesperson of BJP.
The JD(S) however has defended the move stating, "What the CM has done is definitely right. We give importance to farmers. Perhaps Sudhakar's argument on the financial situation could be right. But the crisis will be solved soon." As the political squabble around farm loan waiver continues, the government continues to defend its decision.