SAD to move privilege motion against Finance Minister Manpreet Badal

Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh on Monday announced crop loan waiver of up to Rs 2 lakh for farmers who own less than five acres of agricultural land and a flat relief of Rs 2 lakh for all marginal farmers, irrespective of their loan amount.

"Despite the financial crunch it's facing, Capt Amarinder government has announced debt waiver for farmers whereas, the Centre government has expressed its helplessness is coming out of with a farm loan waiver", he said adding that the Congress-led Manmohan Singh government waived off farm loans worth Rs.70,000 crore during its tenure. "The government has already constituted a Cabinet sub-committee to review this Act", he added. The agriculture allocation has been hiked from Rs 6383 crore to Rs 10,580 crore in 2017-18, "the first time in Punjab's history that the outlay for agriculture has topped the Rs 10,000 crore mark".

The new Congress government's first budget was touted to be tax-free and focused on reducing the state's debt burden while throwing in major incentives for employment, agriculture and real estate.

Also asserting that his government's is committed to provide free power to farmers, he however, appealed to all big and well-to-do farmers of the state to give up power subsidy voluntarily.

However, Sukhwinder Singh Sekhon, Secretary of Punjab Kisan Sabha, said the organisation was happy with the government decision, and hoped it would be implemented properly.

"Instead of doing this Manpreet has announced a fraud in the name of loan waiver by making a provision of Rs 1500 crore for farmer loans". He said it would have been better if Manpreet Badal and his government has stuck to its promise to effect a complete loan waiver of farmer loans taken from nationalised and cooperative banks and also Arhatiyas.

He also proposed an outlay of Rs 1,500 crore for waiving the debt of distressed farmers of the state.

He also announced his government's decision to computerise all the operations in the state under the "End to End Computerisation of Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) operations" scheme to ensure leakage/diversion free distribution of subsidised food grains to eligible beneficiaries.

Not only this, the Punjab government will take initiative to review the working of the education department and check if 1.46 lakh girl students of class 11 and 12 are getting free bicycles on 15th August. This, he said, had brought Rs270 crore monthly burden and Rs3,240 crore annual burden on the state government.

  • Julie Sanders