Providing opportunity to defaulters to pay outstanding dues under the one-time settlement (OTS) scheme, the Punjab government is now seeking OTS for itself from the Centre against the debt of Rs.31,000 crore. According to sources, the Centre has agreed in principle to sort out the food debt controversy of Rs 31,000 crore towards Punjab. According to the Review Committee, formed to solve the issue by the Centre, the state, banks and Centre will equally bear the burden of debt.The reason behind the rising of loan amount was the gap between the actual cost and provisional cost during the procurement of food grains. In 2004, the loan amount was about Rs 8,161 crore, which had increased to Rs.31,000 crore till now with 60 percent of the amount being of interest only. According to information, the Centre has to finalise the issue in the meeting scheduled to take place in mid-February.During the previous regime of Punjab, the Union Government had approved to convert the food grains into debt worth Rs 31,000 crore. Punjab has been paying Rs 3,240 crore annually as interest on the debt with a monthly installment of Rs 270 crore. It is a matter of fact that in the amount of Rs 31,000 crore, the principal amount is Rs 12,000 and the remaining more than Rs 18,000 is of interest component.
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