Kahan Singh Pannu, Punjab irrigation secretary and Punjab Agro Industries Corporation Ltd managing director, who visited Punjab Agricultural University, spoke about the recently relaunched National Pension Scheme (NPS) and why farmers should opt for it. Here are the excerpts:
What is the NPS and how can farmers benefit from it?
NPS was actually launched in 2009 with an aim to provide security to farmers in their old age but failed to get the desired response as the state government did not make an effort to promote it. However, we, along with Punjab State Farmers Commission (PSFC), recently decided to promote the scheme.
Under the scheme, a minimum of Rs 6,000 has to be deposited in the pension account each year. If one opens his pension account at the age of 21, he will have Rs 60, 00, 000 in his account at the age of 60.
Which banks have you tied-up with and how should one get a pension account opened?
We have tied u with UCO bank and asked them to open pension accounts for Punjab’s farmers afresh. A farmer who wishes to open FARMERS IN PUNJAB ARE NOT AWARE OF THE
SCHEMES OFFERED BY THE STATE GOVERNMENT, BECAUSE THE LATTER HAS FAILED TO PROMOTE THEM. KAHAN SINGH PANNU, Punjab irrigation secy an account must carry his passport size photos and a proof of his residence to any branch of the bank. Minimum amount required to open an account is Rs 6,000 per annum. Bank managers have been trained to assist farmers open an account.
What role has the Punjab government played to help farmers in the state? Why have the government’s schemes to help Punjab farmers secure their future failed?
Unfortunately, farmers in Punjab are not aware of the schemes offered by the state government, perhaps because the latter has failed to promote them. However, I will ensure these issues are resolved soon. Moreover, farmers are reluctant to diversify and adopt protect cultivation, which is both safe and will ensure profits.
How has the urban population responded to the NPS?
The scheme seems to have captured the popular imagination of farmers in urban areas, but the response in rural areas has been unenthusiastic.
Without this scheme, farmers may not be able to save up for themselves, considering how agriculture sector in the currently is and has been predicted to grow. We will conduct campaigns to make the scheme popular.
How can challenges in farming be highlighted?
Farmers from various villages and levels must come together to form associations. These will give them a common platform to air views.