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CENTRE’S MOVE TO LOWER SHORT TERM CROP LOAN INTERESTS WELCOME BUT COMPLETE FARM DEBT WAIVER NEEDED TO RESOLVE CRISIS, SAYS PUNJAB CM

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CENTRE’S MOVE TO LOWER SHORT TERM CROP LOAN INTERESTS WELCOME BUT COMPLETE FARM DEBT WAIVER NEEDED TO RESOLVE CRISIS, SAYS PUNJAB CM

Chandigarh, June 14

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday welcomed the Centre’s decision to lower interests on short term crop loan for farmers for the year 2017-18 as a welcome step that will substantially alleviate the woes of the small and marginal farmers, but urged the Prime Minister to go all the way to waive off the existing farm debts of the beleaguered farmers.

In a statement issued here after the Union Cabinet’s approval of the Interest Subvention Scheme (ISS) for farmers, Captain Amarinder Singh the central government should move forward to waive off the loans of at least the small farmers, who were resorting to extreme measures to escape their mounting debts.

The situation is critical, Captain Amarinder pointed out, adding that the entire nation was in the grip of a humanitarian crisis as a result of the unrest among the farming community, which had taken to the streets in many states to bring the government’s attention to their plight. Caught in a vicious cycle of debt, farmers around the country, including in Punjab, were even resorting to suicide, the Chief Minister lamented, adding that, given the nationwide repercussions, the situation merited urgent intervention by the Centre.

The entire farming community across states was in the grip of a serious financial crisis as a result of their debt cycles, coupled with low MSP for their produce, the Chief Minister said.  The farmers, who feed the nation, are unable to meet both ends meet for their families and need government support to wade them through the crisis, he stressed.

The Chief Minister reiterated his demand for immediate implementation of the Swaminathan Commission report to fix the MSP to ensure remunerative prices for their produce, saying the implementation of the recommendations of the Commission were the only real solution to the problem in the long run.

While reiterating his government’s commitment to waive off farm loans in Punjab, as promised by his party in the poll manifesto, Captain Amarinder said knee-jerk reactions by individual states, most of which were struggling to cope with the agrarian crisis, could not lead to a permanent resolution of the problem.

The central government needs to take a holistic view of the problem from a national perspective and intervene immediately to bring the farming community back from the brink of disaster on the path of development and progress, the Chief Minister said.

Captain Amarinder warned that failure to address the issue could lead to a serious food crisis for the country, which could lose its self-sufficiency in food grains and regress to the state in which it was before the Green Revolution.