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Crop loan waiver: Ready with money but banks have not shared borrower details yet, says Kumaraswamy

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Kumaraswamy blamed the delay on politics
Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Thursday attacked the Opposition BJP, and the public sector banks controlled by the party regime at the Centre for the “delay” in waiving crop loans in Karnataka.

The State Government, he told media persons, has an exclusive team working with public sector banks, and has been pursuing them for the database on borrowers.
The government, the CM said, would first require details of individual farmers who owe crop loan dues to nationalised banks. The banks, he said, come under the purview of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. The BJP leaders should pursue with their own government and get the banks to share details, he said.

He blamed the delay on politics. The BJP could not help Karnataka in getting Centre’s assistance for crop loan waiver, but the party could at least help with speeding up the bank details the State was looking for, he said. “I will be indebted to the BJP if they can help us in this,” he said in an obvious dig.

There is no shortage of funds to meet loan waiver obligations, and in fact, the government already has Rs 6500 crore ready to provide for the first instalment. “I want to start releasing the money to banks from November 1. The banks should make use of it early,” he said.

In response to a question, the CM said the SBI has sent notices to farmers even after the government has come up with loan waiver announcement. Some nationalised banks, he alleged, has sent notices offering to settle farmers’ loans under their one-time-settlement (OTS) scheme, and seeking their consent.

A senior official at a public sector bank denied the banks were trying to recover dues from farmers. “Ever since the CM issued the direction, we have stopped issuing recovery notices,
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he said.

Since the waiver scheme covered only crop loans, the official said, they were going about their business of recovering other loans disbursed for non-crop activities like dairying under the agriculture portfolio. These loans they were trying to settle under banks’ OTS scheme.

His bank, he said, had sent some test data to the government to validate the format and see the software compatibility. The government, he said, has asked for details of borrowers of all crop loans regardless of their status, and the process of handing details will be completed in a day or two.
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