Bengaluru: Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy on Sunday requested the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led central government to foot half the costs of the proposed farm loan waiver to help reduce the burden on the state’s coffers.

“My government is ready to help farmers in crisis. Around 8.5 million farmers in Karnataka have outstanding loans, owing to drought and crop failure. The state government is ready to waive off the loans of these farmers, but seek 50% backing of the Union government," Kumaraswamy said in New Delhi.

Chief ministers from across the country were in Delhi to attend the governing council meeting of the NITI Aayog.

The Janata Dal (Secular), or JD(S), and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had promised to waive off farm loans if they came to power. The previous Congress government in Karnataka, too, had promised to waive off 8,165 crore in farm loans. While the JD(S) is trying to keep its promise of a 53,000 crore loan waiver, the challenge is to ensure that it does not impact other government schemes.

Kumaraswamy said that the 1,375 crore grant released by the centre under the National Disaster Relief Fund was not enough, and has also appealed for an additional annual grant of 100 crore for the next five years to develop backward districts like Yadgir and Raichur. So far, the centre has not entertained any request by states to waive off farm loans.

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