Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday announced 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.
Captain Amarinder had said during the Assembly session that the move would benefit a total of 10.25 lakh farmers, including 8.75 lakh farmers with holdings of up to five acres. The initiative will provide double the relief announced by the States of Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, he pointed out.
Captain Amarinder said his government had also additionally decided to take over the outstanding crop loan from institutional sources of all families of farmers who had committed suicide in the State. It has also decided to raise the ex-gratia for suicide-affected families to ₹ 5 lakh from the existing ₹ 3 lakh.
“For debt relief to farmers for loans raised from non-institutional resources, the government has decided 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,” he said, adding that the government has already constituted a cabinet sub-committee to review this Act.
The Chief Minister proposed that the Speaker may constitute a five-member committee of the Assembly to visit the families and ascertain the reasons for the suicides, and suggest further steps to be taken to check the issue forever.
While the Chief Minister reiterated his government’s commitment to provide free power to farmers, he appealed to all large and well-to-do farmers of the State to give up their power subsidy voluntarily.
Citing studies, the Captain Amarinder said there are about 18.5 lakh farming families in the state, and about 65% of them are small and marginal farmers, out of which about 70% have access to institutional finance