After farm loan waiver, Karnataka govt mulls student loan waiver

CM Kumaraswamy has directed officials to compile district-wise data on the outstanding education loans taken by students.
After farm loan waiver, Karnataka govt mulls student loan waiver
After farm loan waiver, Karnataka govt mulls student loan waiver
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Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Tuesday announced that the state government is considering writing off education loans taken by students from economically backward families.

Speaking at a press conference at the Press Club in Bengaluru, Kumaraswamy said he has directed officials to compile data on outstanding loans of the students.

The department currently does not have any information on how many students have taken loans and the information will be compiled district-wise.

Earlier this month, reports suggested that the state government had asked the Social Welfare Department to compile district-wise details of loans taken by the students of the SC/ST communities from banks. However, Kumaraswamy confirmed that the loans will not exclusively be for students of the SC/ST community. "We will not discriminate based on caste or community. It will be for the poor,” he said.

He, however, did not clarify the criteria for the loans since the government is yet to assess the cost of waiving off student loans. The CM’s office confirmed that the proposal has not been tabled yet and that information is being sought before considering the possibility of waiving loans of students.

The development comes three months after the government announced a scheme to waive off loans of farmers while presenting the budget in July. Kumaraswamy further revealed that information of 10 lakh farmers had been obtained from 15 banks. The details will be verified with the help of Bhoomi Monitoring Cell which maintains Bhoomi, a digital database of land records.

The coalition government had committed to waiving off farm loans to the tune of Rs 43,448-crore from state-run nationalised banks and state co-operative banks. "Information will be obtained from farmers as well. Loan details obtained will be verified in order to benefit all the eligible farmers," he added.

The state government is now considering the possibility of waiving loans of students and if implemented, it will benefit students preparing for higher education.

An estimation by the State Level Bankers' Committee (SLBC) showed that education loan borrowings for 2018-19 could run up to Rs. 4,604 crore in commercial, grameen, and cooperative banks. In 2017-18, the number of beneficiaries of education loans were 39,894.

The Chief Minister further announced a series of measures to improve the quality of education in the state. This includes a plan to develop the infrastructure of government schools and colleges and the renovation of 2,700 classrooms, 86 labs and 154 toilets in 1,521 schools. Rs 150 crore has been commissioned for the first phase of the project, which is estimated to cost Rs 450 crore in total.

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