(L-R) Former chief minister Siddaramaiah, AICC general secretary in-charge of Karnataka KC Venugopal, JD(S) national secretary general Danish Ali, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara during Congress-JD(S) coordination committee meeting, in Bengaluru on Sunday. Photo: PTI
(L-R) Former chief minister Siddaramaiah, AICC general secretary in-charge of Karnataka KC Venugopal, JD(S) national secretary general Danish Ali, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara during Congress-JD(S) coordination committee meeting, in Bengaluru on Sunday. Photo: PTI

Congress, JD(S) reach consensus on loan waiver in Karnataka

Joint panel also agrees on Rs1.25 trillion irrigation budget, building 2 million new homes, creating 10 million new jobs

Bengaluru: Karnataka’s ruling coalition on Sunday agreed on a common minimum programme (CMP), clearing a key hurdle in governing the state together.

The CMP was finalized at a meeting of the coordination and monitoring committee set up by Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular), or JD(S). The CMP includes an undeclared quantum of farm loan waiver, Rs1.25 trillion irrigation budget, building 2 million new homes and creating 10 million new jobs within the next five years, among other provisions.

The CMP ends, at least for the moment, purported differences between the two parties that came together after the assembly election threw up a fractured verdict. “The farm loan waiver is accepted by this committee and the details of the farm loan waiver will be revealed by the chief minister in his first budget speech," KunwarDanish Ali, JD(S) secretary general and member of the coordination committee said on Sunday in Bengaluru.

Chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy of JD(S) will present the budget on 5 July and the details of the loan waiver will be spelt out in the same, Ali said.

Ali said loans taken from nationalised and cooperative banks will be waived, but did not release the quantum of the waiver. If the earlier statements of the government are anything to go by, crop loans taken till the end of last year will be waived in the first phase.

The election manifesto of the JD(S) said that it will write off Rs53,000 crore of farm loan waivers but the document did not provide details on the source of the capital to fund such a big programme.

“The chief minister and the government have already discussed that they are going to raise the funds and maintain fiscal discipline," Ali said without divulging more details.

The CMP, which was approved with minor changes, was necessitated to reflect the promises made by the respective election manifestos of both parties.

The CMP comes almost a month of bickering and infighting over allocations of cabinet berths in both parties and differences over presenting a full-fledged budget, among other issues. The coordination committee met for a second time after its formation and more importantly after the return of former chief minister Siddaramaiah from a 12-day break in Mangaluru, where dissident Congress leaders had assembled, evoking sharp reactions from within the party and the government.

K.C. Venugopal, general secretary in-charge of Karnataka said there were no differences within the party or in the coalition. He said the two parties are yet to decide on the nominated spokespersons for the government. Ali clarified that the new government would present a full-fledged budget.

The CMP also lists the allocation of Rs1.25 trillion for irrigation projects over the next five years or the full term of this coalition government.

With consecutive droughts, all political parties had made irrigation a top priority to get the backing of the over 40 million strong farmer community.

Ali added that the CMP also lists out that 2 million new houses will be built for the homeless in the next five years. The CMP also lists the creation of 10 million new jobs in the next five years. Ali said that the CMP also has approved that all flagship programmes of the previous government be continued.

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