Govt rules out farm loan waivers; will stick to fiscal targets

Govt rules out farm loan waivers; will stick to fiscal targets

Govt rules out farm loan waivers; will stick to fiscal targets

Amarinder said his government had not decided on whether to take a fresh loan or generate more revenue for the funds.

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh today announced a debt waiver for sections of the farming sector.

Singh further said that the move would provide farmers with double the relief that has been announced by the state governments of Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. The decision is based on the interim report of the expert group, headed by well-known economist T Haque.

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The state government has also made a decision to raise the ex-gratia for suicide affected families to Rs. 5 lakh from Rs.3 lakh.

The loan waiver will provide relief up to Rs 2 lakh for small and marginal farmers along with Rs 2 lakh waiver for all marginal farmers. These shall be statutorily binding on both the parties. He also said that his government has chose to repeal Section 67A of the Punjab Cooperative Societies Act, 1961, deals with the auction (kurki) of farmers' land.

Singh has also proposed that the Speaker set up a five-member committee of the Vidhan Sabha that would visit the families of the farmers who committed suicide, find out the reasons what forced them to take such an extreme step and then suggest ways in which this issue could be resolved forever.

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Also asserting that his government's is committed to provide free power to farmers, he however, appealed to all big and well-to-do farmers of the state to give up power subsidy voluntarily.

Punjab had got just 0.8% of the Rs 52,520 crore loan waiver that the UPA-I government had announced in 2008.

He cited studies pointing that among the state's 18.5 lakh farming families, about 65 per cent were small and marginal farmers, 70 per cent of whom have access to institutional finance.

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The Council also approved the setting up of a dedicated horticulture university to promote crop diversification in the state, to help in bringing changes in cropping patterns to include the planting of vegetables, fruits, herbs, aromatic and medicinal herbs, fibre and tuber crops, sericulture, fodder crops and floriculture, the spokesman said.

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