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Punjab CM to launch farm debt waiver scheme on Sunday

By Newsd
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Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh will on Sunday formally launch the farm debt waiver scheme, which will benefit 5.63 lakh farmers in the initial phase.

Additional Chief Secretaries D.P. Reddy and Viswajeet Khanna told reporters here that the government had identified 5.63 lakh farmers, who had taken loan of nearly Rs 2,700 crore from cooperative institutions as on March 31 last year, as beneficiaries for disbursement of the debt waiver certificates in the first of the four phases for completion of the entire process.

Of these, the process of verification had been completed for 3.20 lakh farmers. As many as 1.60 lakh cases with loans to worth Rs 748 crore had been approved pan Punjab.

The symbolic launch event at Mansa town will witness disbursement of debt relief certificates to the tune of Rs 167.39 crore to nearly 47,000 marginal and small farmers, who had taken loans from 701 Primary Agriculture Cooperative Societies of the five districts of Mansa, Bathinda, Faridkot, Muktsar and Moga.

Reddy said an extensive plan had been prepared, in association with the Departments of Agriculture and Revenue, for finalisation of the list of eligible farmers.

This was being regularly monitored, with emphasis on proper verification and social audit. A web portal had also been launched by the state government to facilitate this exercise.

As per the plan, the entire debt waiver process would be completed in four phases.

In the first phase, verified marginal farmers would be handed over the debt relief certificates and the rest in subsequent phases, after proper verification. For eligible farmers who did not have Aadhar cards or, in the case of mismatch of Aadhar card seeding either with banks or revenue records, verification would be done manually for their inclusion in the scheme in the second phase.

After the completion of the second phase, the record of small farmers would be duly verified to enable them for debt relief.

Thereafter, if any eligible farmer is left out during any of the earlier three phases for some reason, he would be considered for re-verification to bring him within the ambit of scheme.

In case any marginal and small farmer is deprived of debt relief scheme, then he/she can submit his/her representation to the Assistant Registrar of Cooperative Societies or Sub Divisional Magistrate of the respective district, which would be resolved promptly to his/her satisfaction.

Khanna said loans of farmers taken from commercial and private banks would be settled thereafter under the Debt Relief Scheme, 2017 already notified by the state, whereby marginal farmers having land holdings less than 2.5 acres and small farmers having land less than five acres, who have taken loan up to Rs 2 lakh, would be provided debt relief.

He also clarified that wherever marginal farmers had availed loans from multiple banks, they shall be further eligible for debt relief for loans taken from commercial banks. This would be in addition to the relief being provided against loans taken from cooperative banks.

The total relief will, however, be limited to Rs 2 lakh.