36,700 big farmers who have taken Rs 8,000 crore loan will, however, not get the relief
DW Bureau / Chandigarh
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh is all set to announce the State Government’s loan waiver scheme in the Punjab Assembly on June 19 that is likely to benefit almost 10 lakh small and marginal farmers in the State, it is learnt. However, nearly 36,700 big farmers who have taken Rs 8,000 crore agricultural loan would be kept out of the Government’s proposed debt waiver scheme to be announced during the budget session.
The Government’s plan was discussed threadbare on Thursday after a State Government’s Committee set up to study the farm loan issue and devise ways and means to carry out the waiver submitted a report to the Government on Thursday. After the discussion in which several top officers participated, the Chief Minister decided to make the announcement in the on-going budget session, sources said. Despite serious fund constraints, Capt Amarinder had all along been in favour of giving a major relief to the debt-ridden farmers of the State.
It may be mentioned that out of 18 lakh farmers who had taken loans from different banks, ahrtiyas and cooperative institutions, nearly 13 lakh are small and marginal farmers. “According to our calculations, about 18,000 crore agricultural loan taken by nearly 10 lakh farmers is set to be waived off by the Government in Punjab. All modalities have been worked out and the Amarinder Government is set to fulfill one of its major poll promises shortly,” a senior officer informed Daily World.
According to an estimate, the total agricultural debt in Punjab is pegged at Rs 85,000 crore, of which the total loan taken by farmers stands at Rs 72,700 crore. Sources said the outstanding debt of almost 13 lakh small and marginal farmers is Rs 36,000 crore including cooperative loan of Rs 5,000 crore, of which 10 lakh farmers would get the benefit after the Chief Minister’s announcement.