Capt Amarinder writes to Modi, seeks farm loan waiver at national level

Published: Jun 05, 2019, 15:53 IST | mid-day online desk |

The Chief Minister has stressed that a one-time agriculture debt waiver for farmers at the national level was essential

Amarinder Singh
Amarinder Singh

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking farm loan waiver at the national level and modification in the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY).

Chief Minister Singh, who has shot off two letters to Modi, said the twin decisions - farm loan waiver and modifications in PMFBY - will act "as a onetime solution to help the aggrieved farmers."

Underlining the need to safeguard the interests of Punjab's farmers, the Chief Minister has stressed that a one-time agriculture debt waiver for farmers at the national level was essential, while calling for PMFBY modifications to make the pro-farmer initiative more effective in transforming the rural economy.

"The relief provided by the Punjab government's limited resources is not sufficient and must be fulfilled by the Government of India...Farmer-friendly initiatives will help reduce debt distress amongst this community," he said.

Acknowledging the pressure on farmers resulting in their farmer suicides, he emphasised the need to rectify the situation, with well thought out steps to relieve farmers' distress and improve their living conditions.

The Punjab Chief Minister said that his government alone has provided a debt relief of Rs 2 lakh to all marginal farmers who had availed institutional loans and the small farmers with up to Rs 2 lakh loan waiver.

"In total, as many as 5.52 lakh farmers have been provided with a debt relief amounting to Rs 4,468 crore so far. The remaining will be provided with the entitled relief under the scheme in the near future," he said.

He said that the recent initiatives by the Central government like the financial assistance provided under the PM-Kisan Yojana and pension to farmers are praiseworthy.

"It, however, will not be successful to adequately solve the farmer's distress on account of the high indebtedness of Punjab's farmers," he said.

In the second letter, he has urged Modi to advise the Union Ministry of Agriculture to bring about suitable modifications in the PMFBY.

"Although this scheme is an improvement than the previous ones, there are several chasms that resulted in the non-acceptance by Punjab's farmers and its non-implementation in the state," he said.

Suggesting that PMFBY should be farm and plot based rather than being area based, he said that indemnity level is increased from 90 per cent to 95 per cent and be based on the last year's yield affected.

Captain Amarinder said that the provision for localized calamities should also cover the losses due to unseasonal rainfall during the Rabi crops and an increase in the cost of cultivation of Kharif crops due to deficient rainfall.

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday assured farmers of eight hours of power supply every day for the ensuing paddy season, beginning June 13, while promising the 24-hour supply of power to all other categories of consumers. The Chief Minister directed PSPCL and PSTCL to ensure round-the-clock supply during summer and paddy season to all areas of the state.

He has demanded that no premium charged from farmers should be shared between the Central and State governments on a ratio of 60:40 bases respectively, as most farmers are under economic distress.

"The present agrarian crises and financial stress on farmers is widely reported. It is felt that in such a situation farmers are unable to bear insurance premium which, it is felt, should be borne by the State and the Central governments," he said.

"In any case, the Central government does bear the cost on account of natural calamities and there should be no reason not to bear the cost of the premium, which helps to avoid the liabilities on account of natural disasters and calamities," he said.

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