Punjab Govt. announces loan waiver for 'marginal' farmers

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The state government has also announced waiver of crop loans up to Rs 2 lakh for farmers who owns land up to five acre.

The state government's decision is based on an interim report of the expert group under economist T Haque.

"The anti-farmer policy of the state government is forcing many farmers to commit suicide", they added.

Taking the opposition head-on over the issue, raised in the House, of alleged involvement of Rana Gurjit Singh, Irrigation and Power Minister, in auction of sand mines, the Chief Minister said that without pre-judging the outcome, his government has decided for a judicial enquiry so that truth should prevail.

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The government also said it will raise the compensation to these families from Rs3 lakh to Rs5 lakh. Announcing the scheme during the ongoing budget session of the Assembly, the Punjab CM said that the state government had also chose to waive off outstanding crop loans of farmers who committed suicide.

Lashing out at the previous Akali government for ruining the state's agriculture and farmers, the Chief Minister said the Badal regime accepted a loan of Rs.31,000 crore to cover the shortfall in the cash credit limit for procurement of foodgrains, for which his government has to pay Rs.270 crore every month and Rs.3240 crore annually. "The government has already constituted a Cabinet Sub-Committee to review this Act", Amarinder said. It was tasked with suggesting ways and means to help the state's distressed farming community. The move would provide debt relief to farmers for loans taken from non-governmental institutions. Of the 18.5 lakh farmers in the state, the decision is in the interest of a total of 10.25 lakh farmers.

The government shall give enough time to trade, industry and business to adopt the GST procedures, he said, adding that his government had also chose to appoint a tax ombudsman to address public grievances objectively and impartially. This includes 8.75 lakh marginal farmers.

He reiterated the commitment to provide free power to farmers but appealed to big and well-to-do farmers to give up power subsidy voluntarily.

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