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Following in the steps of Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, Punjab has become the 3rd state to announce a farm loan waiver, which will cost the state around Rs 24,000 crore.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh announced the waiver according to which all crop loan of up to Rs 2 lakh for small and marginal farmers having lands of up to 5 acres will be waived and Rs 2 lakh relief for all other farmers. According to CM Singh, the move is expected to benefit 10.25 lakh farmers with 8.75 lakh farmers having land of up to 5 acres.
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Despite announcing the waiver in Punjab which is already under pressure of loans, CM Singh said that the state government has not yet decided on how to meet the new costs, of whether a fresh loan will be taken out by the state or whether revenue generation models will be considered.
The Punjab state budget which is to be tabled on Tuesday will likely bring more clarity on how the finances will work out for the farm waivers.
The ex-gratia for families of the farmers who had committed suicide will also be raised from the current Rs 3 lakh to Rs 5 lakh and all outstanding crop loans of the families will also be taken over by the government. CM Singh has also proposed that a five-member committee be constituted to visit the families of the suicide victims to ascertain the reasons for suicide and suggest steps to resolve the problems.
According to CM Singh, the previous Parkash Singh Badal government accepted a loan of Rs 31,000 crore to meet the shortfalls in cash credit limit for procuring food grains as a result of which the current state government is paying Rs 270 crore per month and Rs 3,240 annually which otherwise could have been utilised for the benefit of farmers.