Chandigarh, June 20: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday during the first budget session with the view to fulfilling its promise which was given to public during election campaign announced a total waiver of crop loans upto Rs 2 lakhs for small and marginal farmers (upto five acres), and a flat Rs 2-lakh relief for all other marginal farmers, irrespective of their loan amount, paving the way for the eventual waiver of all agricultural debts.
While announcing this in the State Assembly, Captain Amarinder Singh said the decision taken by the government of loan waiver will directly benefit to a total of 10.25 lakh farmers, including 8.75 lakh farmers with plots upto five acres. This initiative will provide double the relief announced by Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.
Captain Amarinder Singh further said that his government had also decided to take over the outstanding crop loans from institutional sources of the families of farmers who had committed suicide in the state. It has also decided to raise the exgratia payments for suicide-hit families to Rs 5 lakhs from the existing Rs 3 lakhs.
He further announced the government will keep providing subsidy on the electricity for the agriculture. Although, he expects the farmers will give up the subsidy at their own will. He also said that any kind of corruption at any level will not be tolerated at all. The CM also added that the new Lokpal Bill will cover him, cabinet ministers and all the bureaucrats to avoid corruption.
The Chief Minister also informed that for debt relief to farmers for loans raised from non-institutional resources, the government has decided to review the Punjab Settlement of Agriculture Indebtedness Act to give the desired relief to farmers through mutually acceptable debt reconciliation and settlement, that shall be statutorily binding on both parties, the lender and borrower. The government has already constituted a Cabinet subcommittee to review this law, he added.
To ensure education to the girls, the Chief Minister also announced to provide free education to girls in all government schools and colleges from Nursery to Ph.D. Also, the Chief Minister promised to give free textbooks, WiFI, new colleges etc so that the students of Punjab could compete globally. Captain Amarinder Singh further said State loans of up to Rs 50,000 has been decided to be waived for those belonging to the Scheduled Castes and economically weaker categories.
Apart from financial announcements, Captain Amarinder Singh also vowed to complete all the promises such as to provide Harra tractors, smartphones, etc. Earlier, Punjab cabinet led by CM Captain Amarinder Singh approved an increase in women reservation in Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) and Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) from 33 percent to 50 percent which also passed by State Assembly.
Taking a dig at previous Akali government for ruining the state’s agriculture and farmers, the chief minister said the Parkash Singh Badal government had accepted a loan of Rs 31,000 crores to cover the shortfall in the cash credit limit for procurement of foodgrains, for which his government had to pay Rs 270 crores every month and Rs 3,240 crores annually. Had this not been done, his government would have utilized the extra Rs 31,000 crores to benefit farmers as well, he added.
The Congress government led by Captain Amarinder Singh is slowly and steadily completing all the promises made by the party during election campaigns. Providing food in cheap rates, stringent action against drugs Nexus, new industrial policy, loan waivers of farmers are amongst important decisions taken by Punjab Government.