Kerala budget writes off interest on small farm loans



Thiruvananthapuram: The Congress-led UDF government in Kerala on Friday announced that the interest on loans taken by small scale farmers would be entirely written off and a scheme would be introduced to provide interest-free loans to them through co-operative banks.

Presenting the budget for 2013-14 in the state assembly, Finance Minister KM Mani said Rs 50 crore had been set apart for the interest waiver scheme. A provision of Rs 30 crore would be made for the interest-free farm loans.

Mani, who belongs to the UDF's third largest constituent Kerala Congress (M) which draws its support mainly from small and medium farmers in the Central Travancore region, also announced several other concessions for the agriculture sector.

They included exclusion of non-company holdings and estates from the purview of Agricultural Income Tax (AIT), which, he said had already done in states like Karnataka.

Considering the growing demand for pollution-free vegetables and fruits, organic farming would be promoted with state support.

PTI