The much awaited announcement by the Karnataka government has finally come.
In a welcome relief to debt-stricken farmers and their families, the Karnataka government has announced complete waiver of interest and penal interest on farm loans taken from cooperative banks till September 30 and increased the compensation from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 5 lakh for the afflicted families, including landless farmers, who had committed suicide.
This comes against the backdrop of over 500 farmer deaths in the state between April to October this year. Farmer unions and the BJP-led opposition have criticised the Siddaramaiah government for not being able to arrest farmer deaths in the state.
Read: A map that shows a farmer has committed suicide in every district of Karnataka this year
The government has also planned to increase monthly widow pension from Rs 500 to Rs 2000 and cover educational expenses up to post-graduation level for children of farmers who had committed suicide.
The CM made the announcement after Congress vice-president, Rahul Gandhiâ€™s visit to Mandya and Haveri districts in Karnataka, where he interacted with farmers. Rahul Gandhi made a passing mention of the relief package during the rally.
The state government announced that the kin of deceased farmers would get free health insurance and reimbursement of medical expenses for treatment at both government and private hospitals.
The governmentâ€™s farmer package also includes revision of minimum support price for all crops.
Siddaramaiah said that if the Union Govt. waives off half of the Rs 29000 crore loan from Nationalised banks, the state government would also do the same.
However, the disbursal of the farmer package in the state leaves much to be desired. According to data from the ministry of agriculture, less than 50% of families of farmers, who were considered for providing compensation until September, have been awarded the amount.