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Punjab cabinet gives nod to abolishing ‘kurki’

The cabinet also approved the recruitment of Guriqbal Singh, the grandson of former chief minister Beant Singh, as deputy superintendent in Punjab Police on “compassionate grounds”

punjab Updated: May 30, 2017 21:37 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Punjab government,Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh,Beant Singh
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh presiding over Cabinet meeting at Punjab Bhawan, Chandigarh on Tuesday.(HT Photo)

The Punjab cabinet on Tuesday gave its formal nod to chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s poll promise to scrap “kurki” , a practice under which mortgaged land is auctioned to recover loans, by abolishing Section 67-A of the Punjab Cooperative Societies Act, 1961. The government has already formed an expert group to waive farmers’ loans.

The decision comes in the backdrop of the CM’s assertions about his commitment to rescue state’s distressed farmers from the burden of debt by waiving their loans and putting an end to “kurki”.

The Congress poll manifesto had also promised to hike the gift money for brides from ₹15,000 to ₹51,000. But with no money in its kitty for the largesse, the government did what it could. It named the “Shagun” scheme of former CM Parkash Singh Badal as “Ashirwad”, without the promised hike.

The state cabinet, which met under the chairmanship of the CM, also decided to go for online payment of the “shagun” amount to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries, already initiated by the previous government. The manifesto had also promised hike in old-age and other pensions.

Capt Amarinder Singh and Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu in Chandigarh on Tuesday. ( HT Photo )

It went for more name changes. It decided to name the department of agriculture as department of agriculture and farmers’ welfare to “strengthen focus on issues related to farmers and their welfare”. It also decided to change the nomenclature of the department of irrigation to department of water resources to “impart greater focus on issues related to water, its optimal, efficient and sustainable use”.

To reform the agriculture sector, which the government said was reeling under the legacy of “mismanagement” inherited by it from the previous government, the cabinet okayed the supersession of existing nominated market committees.

As per the cabinet decision, Section 12 of the Punjab Agricultural Produce Market Act, 1961, will be amended to appoint administrators, who shall perform the official duties and exercise powers of the market committees for a period of one year or till the nomination of market committees, whichever is earlier.

It was also decided to form a cabinet sub-committee to review the review the Agriculture Debt Reconciliation Act, 2016, to make it more effective and broad-based.

Relief for acid attack victims

The cabinet also approved the “Punjab Financial Assistance to Acid Victims Scheme-2017” under which victims will be provided ₹8,000 per month, per head aid by the department of social security and development of women and children, Punjab. This will enable the victims or their family members/relatives to apply for the aid to the district social security officer of the district concerned.

The sanctioning authority will be a district-level committee under the chairmanship of deputy commissioner and the victim will receive the payment directly in her bank account. The cabinet also gave nod to a new compensation policy for the victims of accidents and fire, as well as martyrs from army, paramilitary forces and Punjab Police.

First Published: May 30, 2017 16:20 IST