Panel reminds Centre of payback time for Punjab’s farmers. A high level panel headed by NITI Aayog adviser Tajamul Haque has advocated that the centre should help Punjab with financial aid for farmers’ loan waiver, since the state, by becoming the food bowl of India, had bailed the country out at a time when it struggled to feed its people.According to the the report the accumulated institutional debt of the state’s farmers as on March 31 this year at 73,772 crore 59,621 core of crop loan and 14,151 crore of term loan. However the total loan works out at 1,20,000 crore, since 39 percent debt belongs to the informal category, including moneylenders.The state is facing a serious financial crisis debt is increasing beyond proportions making difficult to service it. The state government should also issue Kisan Bonds and advise all Group A and B government employees to purchase the bonds. The panel suggested the state should approach the Centre for a matching a share, in recognition of its contribution in ensuring national food security.The Haque committee also exhorted the state government to reach out to affluent Punjabi NRIs to purchase Kisan Bonds and even contribute liberally to funds to ameliorate condition for farmers. The government should also create a special debt waiver fund through liberal contribution from arthiyas, business houses, industrialists and others, it suggested.The panel also suggested that the state government immediately waive outstanding crop loans up to 2 lakh of all marginal farmers also those of small farmers who availed crop loans up to 2 lakh. This would roughly cost 16,000 crore. According to the information, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, the state government has accepted the reports in its entirety and would soon implement measures advocated by the the expert committee.
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