The Punjab cabinet today gave its formal nod to Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s promise to scrap ‘kurki’, a practice under which mortagaged land is auctioned to recover loans. The cabinet decision comes in the backdrop of the Chief Minister’s assertions about his commitment to rescue the state’s beleaguered farmers from the burden of debt by waiving off their loans and putting an end to ‘kurki’. The council of ministers, which met here under the chairmanship of Singh, approved the proposal to abolish
section 67-A of the Punjab Cooperative Societies Act 1961, which provides for ‘kurki’ to recover loans as arrears of land revenue, an official spokesman said.
In another move to reform the agriculture sector, the cabinet also okayed the super-session of the existing nominated Market Committees. As per the cabinet decision, Section 12 of the Punjab Agricultural Produce Market Act, 1961, will be amended to appoint administrators, who shall perform the official duties and exercise powers of the Market Committees for a period of one year or till the nomination of Market Committees.
The meeting also decided to rename the Department of Agriculture as Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare. It also decided to rename the Department of irrigation to Department of Water Resources to impart greater focus on issues related to water and its optimal and sustainable use, the spokesman said. It was also decided to form a cabinet sub-committee to review the review the Agriculture Debt Reconciliation Act 2016 to make it effective, broad-based and farmer-friendly, the spokesperson said.
The council of ministers felt that the Act, formulated in 2016, was not favourable to farmers and needed a review, he said. The Congress has been claiming that the agriculture sector in the state has been reeling under “mismanagement legacy”, which its newly elected government has inherited.