The Congress-JD(S) coalition government's farm loan waiver scheme will be put on hold until the elections are over. Officials with the Election Commission say that the state government has been informed that going ahead with the scheme would violate the model code of conduct. The model code of conduct came into force on March 10 and will be in place till May 19.
The story was first reported by The Hindu, however, ECI officials told TNM that the commission had indicated to the government that the payments to the farmers must be postponed due to the violation of election norms.
According to the farm loan waiver scheme, the state government would waive loans up to Rs 1 lakh for loans obtained from cooperative banks and up to Rs 2 lakh for loans obtained in commercial banks.
"Depositing the amount may motivate the voters to favour one party. Hence, it was asked to be stalled. This will also apply to central government schemes," the ECI official said.
According to The Hindu, loans in the cooperative sector worth Rs 1,500 crore were due for payment in March and April and this will be delayed. Of the Rs 1,500 crore, loans worth Rs 1,182 crore of over 3 lakh farmers were due in March and loans worth Rs 387 crore of 93,000 farmers were due in April.
When the farm loan waiver scheme was announced, the coalition had announced that it aimed to help the 20.38 lakh farmers from the scheme and the entire farm loan waiver process was slated to be completed by July this year. The government had allotted Rs 9,449 crore to over 16 lakh farmers, who were identified as beneficiaries so far. In the 2019-20 budget, the state government had allotted Rs 12,000 crore for the scheme.