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Farm debt: Haque panel submits final report, says CM Amarinder

Amarinder said he will examine the report and the state government will then work out the “further course of action.”

punjab Updated: Aug 19, 2017 09:34 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Farm debt,Haque panel,Commission of Agricultural Costs and Prices
Sources say it has suggested long-term planning to raise funds to waive off debt, including imposition of cess on petrol and diesel.(HT File )

Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Friday said he has received the final report by the panel led by T Haque, former chairman of Commission of Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), on the proposed debt waiver for the debt-ridden farmers in the state.

Amarinder said he will examine the report and the state government will then work out the “further course of action.” Official sources said that in its 15-page final report, the panel has recommended to the government long-term planning to raise funds for the debt waiver, including imposition of cess on petrol and diesel.

Notably, the state government plans to raise loans to fund the debt waiver.

In June, the Haque panel had submitted an interim report in which it suggested to waive off debt up to Rs 2 lakh on the small and marginal farmers who own land between 2.5 to 5 acres. This will involve a debt waiver of Rs 9,500 crore for around 10.5 lakh such farmers in the state. There is a total debt of Rs 80,000 crore on the entire farming sector in the state. Meanwhile, sources in the Haque panel revealed that panel members have so far not signed the report and the CM might have received a draft report. “What we suggested in June was almost conclusive,” they added.

The government has announced to give the Rs 9,500-crore waiver in five years.

In a meeting with the chief minister and other top officials a fortnight ago, the panel had flagged the issue that the default of the crop loan given to farmers at the onset of rabi season was rising as a large number of growers have stopped paying back loan, anticipating the debt waiver.

It had also asked the government to implement the waiver without delay. But the government maintained that it could so only after the submission of the final report of the Haque panel.

First Published: Aug 19, 2017 09:34 IST