The state of Punjab is up for polls early next year. Chief Minister (CM) Captain Amarinder Singh has directed the state administration to waive off loans to the tune of Rs 590 crores. This will be done under the farm debt relief scheme and will benefit farm labourers and the landless farming community.
The loan waiver was announced following a high-level meeting constituted by state finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal, co-operation minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, along with additional chief secretary (agriculture) Anirudh Tewari and financial commissioner, co-operation K Siva Prasad.
This move comes as a possible fulfillment of a crucial promise made by the Congress party in Punjab. As per an official spokesperson, all the beneficiaries of this scheme will receive cheques at a state-level programme which will be held on August 20.
Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh said that loans of 2,85,325 members of primary agricultural cooperative societies (PACS) worth Rs 520 crore will also be paid off. Each member will get relief worth Rs 20,000. He has also directed the finance and cooperation departments to kick start the process and make sure there is an effective implementation on the ground.
These announcements and loan waivers are an addition to CM Singh’s flagship ‘Debt Waiver Scheme’. As per the State government, till now loans to the tune of Rs 4,624 crore have been waived off and over 5.64 lakh farmers have benefitted from this, which was in line with the poll promises made by Congress party.
In addition, loans of 6,405 beneficiaries of the scheduled castes corporation worth Rs 58.39 crore were also waived off. Another Rs 20.71 crore loan of the backward classes corporation has been waived off which benefitted 1,225 people.
On July 13, the Karnataka government said that it is planning to write off loans worth Rs 79.47 crore which were taken by 10,187 farmers who unfortunately succumbed to Covid-19.
Earlier in June, Hemant Soren led Jharkhand government also said that loans of 2.46 lakh farmers pegged at Rs 980 crore will be waived. This waiver was announced in December 2020 after Soren had completed a year as CM.
A similar move was adopted by Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma in June. The BJP led government promised to waive off microfinance loans of 22 lakh women borrowers that now stand at Rs 12,500 crore.
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