Chandigarh, May 17 : Expressing serious concern over the deteriorating condition of the farmers and the unabated farmer suicides, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to announce a one-time debt relief to mitigate the miseries of the farming community.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, the Chief Minister sought immediate intervention of the Government of India to avoid any socio-economic unrest in the rural areas.
"Despite repeated requests from the state government for a national-level debt waiver scheme for farmers, the response so far has not been encouraging," the Chief Minister pointed out in the letter, urging for a one-time relief to farmers.
"With continued debt stress, the number of farmers' suicides is increasing and there is a widespread resentment among them.
There is a need for immediate attention to the issue by the Central government," he said in the letter.
Amarinder requested that the issue of agriculture loan waiver at national-level be considered on priority, to reduce the miseries of farmers, thereby making agricultural sector more resilient and the economy more resurgent.
The Chief Minister said the Punjab government, on its part, had decided to provide an institutional loan waiver of Rs 2 lakh to all the marginal and small farmers, having availed loan up to Rs 2 lakh.
This, he said, would provide a relief of total debt waiver of approximately Rs 9,500 crore to 8.75 lakh farmers having about 10.21 lakh crop loan accounts.
"So far, an amount of Rs 999.67 crore has been disbursed as relief to 2.02 lakh farmers," he added.
Citing the contribution of the farmers of Punjab to the national food security campaign, the Chief Minister said they had raised productivity and production of wheat and rice in a record time during the 'Green Revolution', saving the country from hunger and the deprivation of a large segment of its population.