Education sector to get boost with Punjab budget: Min

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today announced total waiver of crop loans 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.

Making the announcements in in the state Assembly, Amarinder said the move would benefit 10.25 lakh farmers, including 8.75 lakh who holds up to 5 acres.

Additionally, Amarinder said his government has made a decision to take over the outstanding institutional loans from institutional sources of all the families of farmers who committed suicide in the state.

The government also said it will raise the compensation to these families from Rs3 lakh to Rs5 lakh.

The Bharti Kissan Union Ekta (Dakaunda), which represents over 1.2 lakh farmers in the Malwa region, said on Tuesday that it expected more from the Amarinder Singh government, and what is on offer is "too little".

Singh has also proposed that the Speaker set up a five-member committee of the Vidhan Sabha that would visit the families of the farmers who committed suicide, find out the reasons what forced them to take such an extreme step and then suggest ways in which this issue could be resolved forever. Along with a loan waiver, the government committed to continue providing free power to farmers, in a state in the grip of severe water stress due to overexploitation of ground water. "Instead of getting relief, they are now getting bullets under the NDA government", Jakhar alleged.

This quashed all hopes of a total farm loan waiver raised by the chief minister on Monday.

The chief minister also announced setting up of new industrial hubs in Sangrur and Khanna and a Rs 100 crore fund to be created to promote start-up culture in the state.

Telling farmers, "Akal naal vaah (cultivate smartly)", Manpreet started the presentation of the new Congress regime's first budget by saying that productivity couldn't witness a further increase, and farming couldn't sustain on growing for the central pool alone.

The government, however, has waived crop loans up to ₹2 lakh, and for farmers who have holdings less than 5 acres, he said.

It seems BJP and Congress are in a tug of war when it comes to farm loan waivers.

On an aggregate basis, it estimates that the gross fiscal deficit of 17 States could go up by 60 to 90 basis points as a percentage of gross state domestic product and push States' deficit beyond the 3% limit envisaged under the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management framework for 2017-18.

  • Zachary Reyes