Amarinder meets Jaitley over farm loans, CCL debt, langar GST waiver
Of the total debt of small and marginal farmers waived by the state, Rs 3,600 crore relate to loan from cooperatives, with the remaining Rs 6,000 crore coming from banks.punjab Updated: Jul 20, 2017 19:33 IST
Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Thursday sought from the central government one-time settlement of the Rs 6,000-crore loans taken by Punjab’s farmers from government-owned and private banks. Such a settlement will benefit 4.5 lakh of the state’s beleaguered farmers, Amarinder told Union finance minister Arun Jaitely at a meeting in New Delhi. He sought the FM’s intervention to convert the loan into a term loan for the state by giving requisite directions to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
Of the total debt of small and marginal farmers waived by the state, Rs. 3,600 crore relates to loans from cooperatives, with the remaining Rs 6,000 crore coming from banks. These banks, said the CM, were giving “unethical” loans to the farmers, “pushing them into a vicious cycle of debt”.
‘Re-study Rs 31,000 crore CCL debt’
Amarinder also discussed with the finance minister the issue of settlement of Rs 31,000 crore of cash credit limit-related debt to ease the state’s financial burden. CCL is given by the Centre to the state to buy foodgrains, but there was a Rs 31,000-crore gap in the money lent and the grains procured, so the previous state government of the SAD-BJP had got that converted into a loan for the state.
The CM requested Jaitley to set up a committee on the issue that he had earlier taken up with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Amarinder pointed out that the Rs 18,500 crore interest on the Rs 12,500 crore CCL legacy gap was exorbitant as it would mean that the state will end up paying Rs 270 crore every month for the next 20 years at the cost of welfare schemes of the state. He also raised the issue of losses incurred by the state on procurement. He said that on the Rs 40,000 crore worth of procurement undertaken every year, the state suffers a loss of Rs 5,500 crore, including about Rs 3,500 crore on payment of installments and interest on outstanding CCL debt.
For GST waiver
Amarinder also urged the finance minister to waive Goods and Services Tax (GST) on langar and prasad given out at gurdwaras, temples and other places of worship. He had earlier written to the finance minister for the exemption. The finance minister directed his department’s officials to look into all the issues and coordinate with officials from the Punjab government to resolve them.