CHANDIGARH: Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday stated in the Assembly that the Rs 1,500 crore loan waiver proposed by finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal was an initial instalment in the debt waiver scheme.
The chief minister was clarifying on issues raised by the Opposition with regard to the government’s farm debt waiver decision.
Farmers would be freed from their debts when the scheme gets notified in another six to eight weeks, said Amarinder Singh. Though Rs 9,500 crore will be required to fully implement the debt waiver scheme, it would take another four to five years to settle with the banks, he declared.
“We propose to take over the loans under the scheme and make payments to banks directly in instalments,” Amarinder stated.
Reiterating his June 19 announcement, Amarinder said his government decided to waive loans based on an interim report by a group headed by Dr T Haque. About 10.25 lakh farmers would benefit by this debt waiver, said the chief minister.
The government has now given 60 days to the Dr T Haque group for submitting its final report.
The chief minister proposed a five-member committee to be constituted by the speaker to look into the issues concerning landless labourers and give its recommendations.
Amarinder minister also countered the Opposition's criticism on the government’s alleged failure in making a provision in the budget for education. He said the Department of Education was working on a policy for starting pre-primary classes in government schools from the next academic year. New teachers would also be appointed, he added. He assured them that the requisite funds would be provided by the state government.
On free education for girls in state government institutions, the chief minister said a new policy would be formulated and the necessary funds would be provided by the government.