Punjab farm loan waiver: Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Monday announced total waiver of crop loans of 8.75 lakh small and marginal farmers. Singh had announced a complete debt waiver for farmers who own up to 5 acres of land of up to Rs 2 lakh of small and marginal farmers, and a flat Rs 2 lakh relief for all marginal farmers, irrespective of the loan amount. Congress has recently come back to power by defeating the incumbent SAD-BJP combine and the party had made a number of promises that it had to keep. Here are 5 key takeaways from the announcement made by the Punjab chief minister:
1 Amarinder Singh-led Congress government had made a poll promise to waive farm loans in the wake of growing number of farmer suicides in the state. Following which the government-appointed expert panel exploring ways and means for debt waiver. The priority of the state government was to first extend relief to small and marginal farmers.
2 The Chief Minister had then noted the move would benefit 10.25 lakh farmers, including 8.75 lakh farmers up to 5 acres. The initiative would provide double the relief announced by the states of Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, he had said.
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3 As debt relief to farmers for loans raised from non-institutional resources, the government decided to review the Punjab Settlement of Agriculture Indebtedness Act, 2016 to “provide the desired relief to farmers through mutual acceptable debt reconciliation and settlement, which shall be statutorily binding on both the parties–the lender and the borrower.” The government has already constituted a cabinet sub-committee to review the Act.
4 Amarinder reiterated the Congress government’s commitment to provide free power to farmers but appealed to all big and well-to-do farmers of the state to give up power subsidy voluntarily. He also offered to immediately give up the subsidy at his own farms to set an example, and appealed to his colleagues to do the same.
5 Announcing more farmer-friendly steps, he said a State Agriculture Policy focusing on increase in farmers’ income on a sustainable basis would be formulated soon.