A day after various farmer unions began their protest on the outskirts of Patiala alleging that the government’s debt waiver scheme would benefit only a small section of the farming community, Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh warned farmer unions against “misleading” farmers on the scheme. In a statement, the CM said “baseless” charges were being made against his government by “politically-motivated” farmer leaders at the behest of some political parties. Urging them to stop “misleading” farmers with false statements” on the issue, he said, “The process has already been initiated by the government in right earnest. It will be notified soon following the cabinet approval. It will benefit 10.25 lakh of the 13 lakh farming families who have taken loans. This constitutes nearly 80% of the borrowers in the farming community, which has a total of 17 lakh plus families.” Urging farmers not to be incited by the “claims and allegations” of farmer unions, he said contrary to what they are trying to project, the loan waiver scheme would positively impact small and marginal farmers, leaving out only the big farmers, who would be covered in the next phase. “The loan waiver amount announced by our government is also way above that announced by other states, including Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Karnataka, despite the fact that Punjab is in a worse financial condition. The Punjab government has also decided to take over the interest of the affected farmers with retrospective effect,” he said.Amarinder also cited media reports pointing to loan waivers as low as one paise in UP. He said officials concerned have been working closely with the banks, since the farm loan waiver scheme was announced in June to prepare detailed lists of farmers and their loan amounts to be covered in the first phase.