Pb govt announces waiver of crop loans of 8.75 lakh farmers

Pb govt announces waiver of crop loans of 8.75 lakh farmers
The Punjab government on Monday announced waiver of crop loans up to Rs 2 lakh of small and marginal farmers, and a Rs 2 lakh relief for all marginal farmers, irrespective of the loan amount.

The announcement has, thus, paved the way for the eventual total waiver of agricultural debts, which was a major poll promise of the Congress during the Assembly elections in March.

Speaking in the Assembly, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said the move would benefit 10.25 lakh farmers, including 8.75 lakh cultivators holding up to five acres. The initiative would provide double the relief, when compared to Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, he said.

Amarinder said the decision was based on an interim report of the expert group headed by economist T Haque, which was tasked with suggesting ways to help the state’s distressed farming community.

He said his government had also decided to take over the outstanding crop loans from institutional sources of the families of the farmers who had committed suicide. “The ex gratia for the families of farmers who committed suicide will be raised to Rs 5 lakh from the existing Rs 3 lakh,” he said.

For loans raised from non-institutional resources, the government has decided to review the Punjab Settlement of Agriculture Indebtedness Act, 2016, to “provide the desired relief through mutual acceptable debt reconciliation and settlement, which shall be statutorily binding on the lender and the borrower,” he said.

The government has already constituted a cabinet sub-committee to review the act, he added.

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