Punjab which comprises of a vast majority of farmers, found for itself a much interesting scheme namely, Loan Waiver Scheme. The Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday launched his government’s farm loan waiver scheme in Mansa, Punjab and slammed opposition parties and some kisan unions for spreading a “false propaganda” on the issues faced by farmers.
To make the announcement more rapid on the fronts of process involved, Singh handed over farm loan waiver certificates to 10 farmers from Mansa, Bathinda, Faridkot, Muktsar and Moga districts, where nearly 47,000 farmers would benefit from the scheme.
A total of 5.63 lakh farmers would be benefited in the state during the first phase of the scheme. An estimation of Rs. 2,700 crore will be provided for the relief of the farmers of Punjab.
“The fiscal crisis being faced by the state was much graver than the Congress had envisaged before the elections,” he said, adding that even then Punjab has announced a higher loan waiver than UP, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, MP and Karnataka.
Addressing a massive gathering at the launch of his government’s historic farm debt waiver scheme, the Chief Minister referred to reported suicide of a Barnala farmer to point to the extent of shameless mis-propaganda which the opposition parties and some of the unions had unleashed. Captain Amarinder categorically denied any such suicide on account of non-inclusion of the farmer’s name in the waiver list. The farmer’s name was included in the list from Barnala, he said, adding that it was obvious that a fraudulent campaign had been launched by vested interests.
The Chief Minister questioned the Akalis, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and some Kisan Unions, which were behind the propaganda campaign, on how they expected his government to give out more than it could afford to. The fiscal crisis facing the state was much graver than the Congress had envisaged before the elections, he said, adding that despite the problems, his government had found ways of launching the debt waiver scheme, as promised in the poll manifesto of the Congress.
Captain Amarinder cited figures to point out that not only had his government announced higher loan waiver than other states, including the BJP-ruled ones, but had, in fact, done so despite the huge financial constraints faced by it. He gave the examples of Maharashtra (upto Rs 1.5 lakh), UP (upto Rs 1 lakh), Rajasthan (upto Rs 50000), MP (upto Rs 1 lakh) and Karnataka (upto Rs 50000).
The nearly 47000 farmers who had taken loans from 701 Primary Agriculture Cooperative Societies of the five districts were getting their money in their bank accounts, he said, describing the launch as a beginning towards solving the problems that were causing farmers to commit suicide. A total of 5.63 lakh farmers will benefit in the first phase, which will provide relief to the tune of Rs 2700 crores.
Acknowledging that some farmers could and might have got left out due to technical errors, Captain Amarinder said these issues were being resolved and those who still ended up with complaints should approach their respective SDMs or DCs, whom he had personally directed to resolve any such issues at the earliest. No eligible farmer will be excluded from the waiver exercise, he assured the people, adding that he was personally keeping tabs on the disbursements.
Asserting that he wanted the poor farmers in the state, which has 17.5 lakh farming families to benefit under the scheme, the Chief Minister said 10.25 lakh farmers were being covered, which only left out the bigger farmers.
The Chief Minister said the entire loan waiver process would be completed in four phases and his government would find ways and means of making it happen, despite not getting any help from the Centre. He had personally had several meetings with the central government to seek support in debt waiver but the Centre had not extended any help in this matter to any state. Despite this, however, he did not allow himself to be deterred from fulfilling this vital promise made to the farmers, Captain Amarinder added.
Reiterating his government’s commitment to the uplift of the beleaguered farmers, the Chief Minister pointed out that the state had witnessed record production this year, including of cotton. He assured the farmers that he would ensure that they do not face any problems, and promised that even the farm labourers would be taken care of once the state’s fiscal condition stabilizes.
Jakhar lashed out at Badal and the Akalis for befooling people in the name of Panth and Kisans, doing nothing for farmers and putting the state in deep debt. Captain Amarinder, who feels the pain of farmers, has done in 10 months what the Akalis failed to do in 10 years. The Akalis were hungry only for money, he said, adding that those politicizing the issue and misleading the farmers were doing a great disservice to Punjab.
Jakhar pointed to the record procurement that had taken place this year, under the Captain Amarinder regime, and referred to the debt of Rs. 46,000 crore on the state when Captain Amarinder led Congress government demitted office in 2007, as against the debt trap of over Rs. 2 lakh crore by the end of 2017.
While proposing a vote of thanks at the conclusion of the launch ceremony, Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal said that his entire team of Cabinet colleagues along with party MLAs were committed to fulfilling all the promises made to the people of Punjab. He said that the state government was earnestly making all efforts to bring fiscal prudence for ensuring economic stability in the state.