In a significant move, the Captain Amarinder Singh government on Saturday constituted an expert group to assess the quantum of agricultural debt on farmers in Punjab and suggest way and means for its waiver.
A government spokesperson said Dr T Haque, former chairman, commission for agricultural costs and prices, has been appointed chairman of the group, which has been asked to submit its report within 60 days.
The two other members of the group are Dr Pramod Kumar Joshi, director (South Asia), International Food Policy Research Institute; and Dr BS Dhillon, vice-chancellor, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana.
An official notification issued by additional chief secretary (development) said the expert group would be assisted by the officers of the state government, including additional chief secretary-cum-financial commissioner (development) and principal secretary finance.
Dr Balwinder Singh Sidhu, commissioner and director, agriculture, Punjab, will assist the group as convener. He will convene the meetings of the group, which may associate officers from the banking sector, including chief general manager, NABARD, Chandigarh and convener, State Level Bankers’ Committee, Punjab, Chandigarh.
Besides assessing the total amount of credit, both institutional and non-institutional, availed by different categories of farmers, the group will work out the quantum of bad loans or debt and suggest the methodology for remission of debt.
It will also suggest ways and means to raise resources for the debt waiver, according to the notification.