Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) joined hands with the Punjab State Farmers Commission (PSFC) and the Punjab Agro Industries Corporation Limited (PAICL) in its aim to enrol almost every farmer of the state in the National Pension Scheme (NPS), which can play a vital role to secure their future.
The PSFC and PAICL, under the leadership of Irrigation Secretary, Punjab, Kahan Singh Pannu, who is also managing director of the PAICL, have already kicked off campaigns in various pockets of the state through which farmers in large numbers and agricultural experts are being explained the benefits of getting enrolled in the NPS. To give room to the opinion of farmers and clear their doubts, Pannu has also ensured to keep the campaigns open to discussion with farmers.
Hindustan Times on Monday interacted with its vice-chancellor BS Dhillon to know that what efforts the varsity will make to captivate farmers towards this pension scheme.
"Pannu has taken a very right and efficient decision to help the farming community as several of them despite toiling so hard in the fields, fail to make their future secure due to low savings and more expenditure on different agricultural activities," said Dhillon.
However, to intensify the enrolment number in the NPS, Dhillon said, "Being state agricultural varsity, we are all set to create awareness among farmers in every possible nook of the state on various benefits of the NPS. In fact, all the farmers must understand that by enrolling in the NPS, they can make their old age free of financial crisis, they will get enough pension as each month to look after themselves and their families through this scheme."
"As if now, all the PAU department heads have been strenuously recommended that in all the meetings and trainings with farmers, there will be detailed sessions on the pension scheme in order to get maximum farmers enrolled into this scheme. Even our 17 Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVK) that are located in all the major parts of Punjab, including Amritsar, Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Bhatinda, Muktsar, Barnala, Gurdaspur and more, from its respective regions, have formulated plans to motivate farmers towards the NPS. The heads there have been instructed to hold meetings to motivate farmers to be part of this pension scheme," he added.
Dhillon said, "During kisan melas of the university, special stalls will be set up to throw light on the NPS and the monthly 'Changi Kheti' magazine will also carry special articles to inspire the farmers. Other than Punjabi, this magazine is also published in English and both editions will carry articles on the scheme."
Director of Agriculture, Punjab, Mangal Singh Sandhu has lauded the effort of PSFC, PAICL and plans of the PAU towards enrolling maximum farmers in the NPS.
"Though the NPS was launched in 2009, but the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) concerned, which should have highly popularised this scheme by now, did not do so. However, seeing huge benefits of the NPS, in which farmers and those related to other professions can also enrol, I along with the PSFC and PAICL decided to reintroduce it on a high note," Pannu added.
NPS popularity on social networking
While the PAU authorities have geared up to support the NPS campaign, students at the PAU and others have restored to social networking to inspire farmers. Students of PAU Ravinder Singh Panag and Gurpinder Singh Sangha have enlisted the benefits of the NPS on their respective social networking sites and have asked their friends to share the benefits not only on social networks, but also directly with the farmers. Many of them have appreciated Pannu for taking initiative to reintroduce this scheme and have wished every farmer to be part of the NPS by Baisakhi festival this year. PAU alumnus Amarjit Singh Sandhu has shared that media should also play a big role to inspire the farmers.
How to enrol
Farmers can contact the nearest UCO bank branch to enrol into the National Pension Scheme (NPS).