CHANDIGARH/NEW DELHI: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday urged the central government to relax the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act, 2003, and enhance the state's borrowing limit to enable it meets its commitment of waive agricultural debts.
In separate meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley here, the Chief Minister sought their intervention to direct the launch of these measures for the support of the financially beleaguered state.
He urged them to enhance the borrowing limit by Rs 10,000 crore to help the state government to procure additional market loans for the debt waiver and relief scheme.
Amarinder said the scheme was aimed at providing succour to the debt-ridden Punjab farmers, who were resorting to extreme measures, including suicide, in sheer desperation.
According to a spokesperson of the Chief Minister's Office (CMO), Amarinder pointed out at the meetings that his government had waived off crop loans up to Rs 2 lakh for all small and marginal farmers, while providing debt relief up to Rs 2 lakh to marginal farmers having total debt of over Rs 2 lakh each.
"Besides, the state government had also decided to take over the total debt of suicide-affected families," he pointed out."
With total beneficiaries of 10.25 lakh farming families, the financial implication of these steps was to the tune of Rs 9,500 crore," the Chief Minister pointed out, adding that the current annual borrowing limit at 3 per cent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) amounted to Rs 12,819 crore, leaving a gap of Rs 10,273 between revenue and expenditure.