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Karnataka farmers protest against RBI, demand change in loan policy

Karnataka Sugarcane Cultivators Association President Kurubur Shanthakumar said that he had addressed a letter to Bengaluru RBI Chief 20 days prior but had not received a response.

SNS | New Delhi |

In a demonstration against the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Tuesday in Bengaluru, hundreds of farmers demanded a change in lending policy and the removal of the CIBIL score requirement for issuing agricultural loans.

To demonstrate in front of the RBI, members of the Federation of State Farmers Associations and the Karnataka Sugarcane Cultivators Association came from all around the state. The Department of Public Instruction building was the site of a protest after the police dispersed the protesters.

The farmers steadfastly demanded that the RBI executives talk with them and address their concerns. The RBI’s premises were subject to strict security measures put in place by the police agency.

Karnataka Sugarcane Cultivators Association President Kurubur Shanthakumar said that he had addressed a letter to Bengaluru RBI Chief 20 days prior but had not received a response.

“When agricultural loans are granted, CIBIL score should not be considered. We are farmers who feed the country. Sometimes we are not able to pay back loans due to floods, or famine. It is not tenable to reject loans based on CIBIL scores,” he said.

“The RBI should take back its loan policy. If it does not then the protests will continue. Farmers are not even getting Rs 1 lakh loan on their land which is worth crores of rupees, but loans in lakhs are given for the construction of houses,” he angrily stated.

Later, the RBI officials agreed to meet with a group of eight farmers. Farmers first turned down the offer by claiming they didn’t bother to respond to their letter. Additionally, they requested that RBI representatives attend the rally and listen to the demonstrators. Later, police mediated a resolution and arrested a group of eight farmers close to the RBI.

Later, the farmers discussed the need to reform the lending policy, including the necessity to issue loans based on the value of farmland, grant loans to farmer children, and implement the Mudra Scheme. They said that farmers do not receive student loans for their offspring’s schooling.

They also took the officer to task for not bothering to reply to their letter. Later, the RBI representative gave an assurance that they will shortly be called for a meeting.
(with inputs from IANS)