June 20th, 2017
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has waived off loans for farmers. In a tweet on June 19, he said:
In a major step towards farm loan waiver, will give complete waiver for small, marginal farmers (upto 5 acres). This is just the beginning!
— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) June 19, 2017
After Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, Punjab is the third state that has announced a loan waiver. The announcement said:
- Complete waiver of crop loans of up to ₹2 lakh for small and marginal farmers with up to five acres of land holding, and a flat ₹ 2 lakh relief for all other marginal farmers, irrespective of their loan amount.
- A flat Rs 2 lakh relief for all other marginal farmers, irrespective of their loan amount was also announced.
- The govt has also decided to raise the ex gratia for suicide-affected families to Rs 5 lakh from the existing Rs 3 lakh.
As reported by The Hindu, during the Assembly session Captain Amarinder said that the move would benefit a total of 10.25 lakh farmers, including 8.75 lakh farmers with holdings of up to five acres. He added that the Punjab government’s decision would benefit the farmers in a larger way than the schemes that had been introduced in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.
The move was based on the interim report of the expert group headed by the well-known economist T Haque.
The government also intends to review the Punjab Settlement of Agriculture Indebtedness Act to provide the desired relief to farmers through mutually acceptable debt reconciliation and settlement, which shall be statutorily binding on both the parties – the lender and the borrower. This would be a part of the initiative to provide relief to farmers for loans raised from non-institutional sources.
A five-member committee of the Assembly is to be formed under the stewardship of the Speaker that would do a ground level study about the families which have encountered farmer suicides. They are in-charge of ascertaining the causes behind such occurrences.
CM Singh’s government intends to repeal Section 67A of the Punjab Cooperative Societies Act, 1961, which provides for the auction of the lands of farmers who are unable to repay their loans.
He said a state agriculture policy focusing on the increase in farmers’ incomes on a sustainable basis would be formulated soon.
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