Chandigarh, February 17: Facing flak from farmer organisations and under fire from its own party MLAs, the Congress government in Punjab is coming up with the Crop Loan Waiver Part 2.0 from March 16.
The scheme will be relaunched from Jalandhar. Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh is learnt to have given his nod to the policy changes in the original scheme yesterday. The government is aiming to restart the scheme before the upcoming Budget session to save itself from being embarrassed by the Opposition on the issue.
Official sources say that around Rs 600 crore, available with the government, is to be disbursed to the beneficiary farmers. Though the scheme will be relaunched from Jalandhar, a function will also be held in either Amritsar or Gurdaspur simultaneously so as to dispel the Opposition parties’ rants on the “flawed implementation” of the scheme.
The scheme, notified in October 2017, was officially launched on January 7. Over Rs 160 crore was disbursed, but it created a furore in the state because of the way it was implemented. The government got more brickbats than bouquets, as reports of ineligible farmers (those having larger land holdings) getting the waiver and small and marginal farmers getting a waiver of less than Rs 100 were reported in the Malwa region. The Congress MLAs themselves protested against the scheme implementation, following which a three-member officers’ committee, headed by Additional Chief Secretary DP Reddy, was set up to look into the lacunae and recommend changes in the scheme after consultations with the MLAs.
The scheme rollout was stopped on January 23 and the committee has now recommended some changes in the scheme. These changes have once again brought in a new elimination criteria — weed out farmers having up to 2.5 acre and 5 acre land holding within Punjab, but additional land holding outside Punjab; those farmers filing income tax returns; those employed by government, public sector undertakings and government retirees. Other than these amendments to the Crop Loan Waiver Scheme reportedly been cleared by the Chief Minister, it has also been decided to create a redress mechanism at the sub-divisional level.
A committee, headed by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate and comprising of the Assistant Registrar of the Cooperative Department and agriculture development officer will be set up to look into any anomaly in the waiver amount or with regards to beneficiaries. They will also be looking at the self certificates that each of the beneficiary will have to furnish, stating his eligibility for availing himself of the crop loan waiver.
News Source: http://www.tribuneindia.com