Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy will on Thursday present his coalition government's maiden Budget for fiscal 2018-19, an official said on Wednesday.
Though Congress Legislature Party leader and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah told Kumaraswamy to present a Supplementary Budget since he had presented the Budget for this fiscal on February 16, the Chief Minister secured Congress President Rahul Gandhi's approval to present the full Budget as the head of the coalition government.
"I am bound by the people's verdict to present the full budget after the May 12 Assembly polls, in which about 100 new legislators were elected and expect me to present programmes and policies of the new government," Kumaraswamy told reporters on June 19.
As agreed by the coordination committee of the alliance partners, the budget will have details of the loan waiver for the distressed farmers reeling under crop losses due to consecutive droughts or floods in the recent years.
"Farm loans equivalent to Rs 10,000 crore are likely to be waived along with interest on them, as decided at a special meeting the Chief Minister held with Cooperation Minister Bandeppa Khashempur and Agriculture Minister N.H. Shivashankara Reddy on June 25," recalled the official.
The proposed write-off will be in addition to a similar waiver the previous Congress government declared on June 21, 2017, for over 22-lakh farmers who borrowed crop loans up to Rs 50,000 each from the cooperative banks.
According to the state agriculture department's estimates, of the 74-lakh farmers across the state, 25-lakh of them don't take institutional loans but borrow from private sources, including moneylenders at a high-interest rate and get caught into a debt trap.
In a related development, opposition BJP leader B.S. Yeddyurappa sought a White Paper on the state's finances ahead of the Budget presentation, alleging that loans and bills amounting to Rs 2.38-lakh crore were outstanding.
"The coalition government should first present a White Paper on the state's finances, which are under stress due to a mismatch between revenue collection and expenditure," Yeddyurappa told reporters here.