Monthly Archives: SEPTEMBER 2017
TO TAKE OVER ENTIRE ELIGIBLE AMOUNT
Punjab Cabinet approves crop loan waiver
Chandigarh: The Punjab Cabinet on Wednesday gave its approval to notify the crop loan waiver scheme announced by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh in the state assembly in June this year.
Besides taking over the entire eligible loan amount of the farmers covered by the debt waiver scheme, the government has decided to also take over the outstanding interest of farmers from 1st April, 2017 till the date of notification, which will lead to an additional Rs 400 crore benefit to the farmers.
The entire amount would be defrayed to the banks in a phased manner, except for the cooperative credit institutions, an official spokesperson disclosed after the cabinet meeting, adding that the proposed notification will pave the way for the state government to take up the issue of settlement of loan with respective banks as a one-time settlement.
The crop loan waiver scheme, based on the recommendations of an expert group headed by eminent economist Dr. T. Haque, will directly benefit nearly 10.25 lac farmers across the state. The Chief Minister had in June announced waiver of the entire crop loans (upto Rs 2 lacs) of all small and marginal farmers (upto 5 acres) and a relief of Rs.2 lac to the remaining marginal farmers irrespective of the amount of loan.
The notification envisages that in case of marginal farmer (less than 2.5 acres) the entire eligible amount of those farmers who have total outstanding crop loan liability upto Rs. 2 lakh shall be provided as debt relief and in case of eligible amount of more than Rs.2 lakh, only Rs.2 lakh shall be provided as debt relief. In case of small famers (from 2.5 acres to less than 5 acres), the entire eligible amount of those farmers who have total outstanding crop loan liability upto Rs.2 lakh, shall be provided as debt relief.
The debt waiver scheme would cover crop loan disbursed to farmers in the state by scheduled commercial banks, cooperative credit institutions (including urban cooperative banks and regional rural banks, collectively called as the 'lending institutions'.
The scheme shall come into force from the date of its notification in the official gazette. According to the notification, crop loan means a short term production loan given in connection with the raising of crops which is to be repaid within 6 to 12 months. It will include working capital loan, extended to marginal and small farmers.
In the case of a farmer who has taken loans from two separate lending institutions, the first priority shall be given to the Cooperative institutions and second to the Public Sector Banks and third to the Commercial Banks in that order. The amount eligible for debt relief shall comprise of the outstanding liability under crop loan (principal and interest) as on March 31, 2017. The interest outstanding from April 1, 2017 till date of notification shall be additional. As per data collected from State Level Bankers Committee, there are about 20.22 lac bank accounts with an outstanding crop loan of Rs. 59,621 crore as on March 31, 2017.
It is estimated that about 10.25 lac farmers will be provided debt relief under this scheme. For this purpose, bank branch wise lists of eligible small and marginal farmers shall be prepared under the supervision of the Deputy Commissioner of the concerned district. The funds shall be provided to the DC's and each farmer shall be issued a dept relief certificate by the concerned bank branch after crediting the relief amount in his account. In case of multiple accounts, a total waiver upto Rs. 2 lacs shall be provided as per eligibility with the priority being given to Cooperative Institutions, Public Sector Banks and Private Banks in the same order.
A district level bankers' meeting will be convened by the Deputy Commissioner and district-wise details of loan waiver bank-wise, farmer-wise will be recorded and sent to Director Agriculture, who will release the amount to the concerned Deputy Commissioner for settlement of accounts of eligible farmers.
The cabinet reiterated the government’s commitment to bringing the Punjab peasantry out of debt relief. To provide effective settlement of non-institutional loans, a Cabinet Sub Committee has also been constituted to review the Punjab Agriculture Debt Settlement Act 2016 to make settlement of debt cases more effective. Also, an all-party Vidhan Sabha Committee comprising five MLAs has been constituted to examine the suicides cases of farmers and farm labourers and suggest ways and means to check this problem.
Pertinently, the state agriculture scenario is quite dismal and facing a crisis both in terms of its economic and environmental sustainability. The increasing costs of inputs coupled with marginal increase in minimum support price have contributed to squeezing the margins of the farmers. As per studies carried out by Punjab State Farmers' Commission and Punjabi University, Patiala, the debt per household which was about Rs. 1.79 lac in 2005-06 had increased to Rs. 4.74 lac in 2014-15.
PRELIMINARY FINDINGS CONFIRM IRREGULARITIES
Vigilance Bureau conducts surprise check
Chandigarh: Punjab Vigilance Bureau teams along with road construction engineers today conducted a surprise check of airport road in SAS Nagar and found that the prescribed standards and material was not used during the construction of 200 feet road.
Disclosing this here today a spokesperson of State Vigilance Bureau informed that on the basis of complaints regarding non-worthiness of this recently constructed road, Vigilance Bureau Chief Director BK Uppal, ADGP along with senior PWD and GMADA Engineers, technical teams of VB and experts of Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) have inspected the road and excavated the road at two points with JCB machine and one with sampling machine.
During this special inspection, it has been prima facie found that the road was not designed properly as per the actual soil (clay soil) and traffic conditions (heavy load trucks) at the site, and improper/sub-standard material was used which was not according to the prescribed specifications mentioned in the DPR as well as in the contract conditions.
Uppal informed that the GMADA had already received a sampling report from CRRI. The experts of CRRI have been asked to collect some more samples from the locations selected by the technical teams of VB, PWD (B&R) and GMADA and submit report after thorough analysis of the same, so that exact findings could be reviewed by the Bureau.
Vigilance Chief told that on the basis of CRRI reports further action would be initiated against the guilty Engineers and the contractor. It is mentioned here that after digging the road for fresh sampling, the senior engineers present on the spot have also confirmed that irregularities were committed during its construction due to which the road has got damaged in a short span of time.
Among others present on the spot included G. Nageswara Rao, Director Vigilance Bureau, Shive Kumar Verma, IGP/EOW and Engineers from PWD, GMADA and CRRI.
IDENTIFIES 47 FALSE CASES INVOLVING POLITICAL VENDETTA
Gill commission submits 2nd interim report to Punjab CM
Chandigarh: The Justice (Retd) Mehtab Singh Gill Commission of Inquiry on Tuesday submitted to Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh its second interim report, which has found political vendetta involved in all the 47 cases identified by it as false.
The Commission has recommended cancellation of FIR's in 37 of these cases, while in four cases it has suggested compensation to accused acquitted by courts. In the remaining six, it has recommended other action, such as not to file challans in courts.
The Chief Minister has marked the report to the Home Secretary for detailed examination and further action, according to an official spokesperson.
The Commission, which had submitted its first interim report, relating to 172 of the total 4200 cases/complaints received by it, on August 23, was constituted by the Captain Amarinder government on April 5, 2017 under The Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952. It was entrusted the task to investigate the alleged false cases/FIR's registered during the erstwhile Badal regime.
Former District and Sessions Judge B S Mehandiratta is a member of the Commission, set up to "inquire into the cases where persons are said to have been wrongly implicated in allegedly false cases/ FIR's in the state of Punjab during last 10 years and submit its report to government after such inquiry.” The Commission was tasked to recommend to the government measures to be adopted to ensure that for future, such instances do not happen. It has an initial tenure of six months, to be extended by the government when so required.
Giving details of the second interim report, the official spokesperson said the 47 false cases/FIR's contained in List 3 relate to those in which complaints have been accepted and recommendations made by the Commission. In these cases, the final report under Section 173 of the CrPC has not been presented so far and the accused have been acquitted by the courts etc.
With regard to serial numbers 1-37 in this list, the Commission has recommended to the Home and Judicial Department to make requests to courts in a legal and proper manner for cancellation of the FIR's. The cancellation has been recommended after taking orders from the appropriate court.
For serial numbers 38-41, it has recommended payment of compensation to accused acquitted by courts, with the same to be recovered from the Investigating Officer (IO), along with prosecution of first informant/certain police officers, u/s 82 IPC, with action to be taken accordingly. In cases 42-47, action as recommended should be taken, which could include not presenting the challan against the accused-applicant in the court.
List 2 submitted by Gill to the Chief Minister as part of the second interim report relates to the 59 complaints dismissed outright by the Commission as being frivolous and not meriting consideration as they related to personal civil disputes, ranging from matrimonial to property, and did not fall into its jurisdiction. The Commission did not go into these complaints, in many of which challans had already been filed or the case was pending in court, as these were not found to be politically motivated. The Commission, in the second phase, had examined a total of 106 complaints.
The decision to set up such a Commission was taken at the first cabinet meeting of the Capt Amarinder government. Amarinder had, during his election campaign, promised the people of Punjab that his government would inquire into all such false cases to ensure justice for the innocent. He had also promised that all those found guilty of implicating innocent people in fake cases would be brought to book.
The promise, which followed numerous complaints by victims of such cases to Captain Amarinder during the electioneering, was also incorporated in the Congress manifesto. Captain had received several complaints of false cases being registered against the political opponents of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) in connivance with the district police officials.
INTENSIFY SURVEILLANCE TO NAB ERRING SELLERS
Govt to crack the whip against ‘Food adulteration mafia’: Brahm Mohindra
CHANDIGARH: In the wake of coming festival season, Brahm Mohindra today issued strict instruction to the State food safety administration to keep an eagle’s eye on the production of food items besides conducting random sampling of the food items and selling of food like sweets, fast food, packed food and bakery items. District Health Officers and assistant food commissioners have been mandated to take stern legal action against such anti social elements who play with the lives of the innocent citizens by selling adulterated food items.
These instructions were today issued by the Brahm Mohindra, Health & Family Welfare Minister while chairing high level meeting of Food Safety Administration of State and district authorities.
Health Minister said that it is a matter of serious concern that many manufactures are indulged in the producing food items using harmful chemical and contaminated ingredients which causes illness to the consumers in the state. He said erring sellers or manufacturer will not be spared at any cost and there is no laxity for the mafia who are running the trade of adulterated food items.
He said that instructions have also been issued to all SSP's to provide security to concerning officers for conducting raids at odd time. He also instructed inter-district teams at head office to conduct the special drive against adulteration in the field. He said that during this drive, special checking point would be set at Punjab’s border areas to break the supply line of adulterated food like khoya, ghee and other food items.
Mohindra instructed the all officers to ensure that small vendors may not feel harassment on the name of food adulteration. He said that especially cold stores wherein bulk of food products have been kept and dedicated places of production like sweet and bakery items must be checked. He said that all cold stores for storage and manufacturing places should be neat and clean. He said that in such cases, where food seems to be unsafe for human consumption, articles of food must be seized and send to the laboratory.
Health Minister also asked the officers to share the obstacles faced during the raids and sampling for further departmental reforms in the department. He said that soon, dedicated app will be launched by the department to bring transparency in the functioning of food safety department.
Brahm Mohindra said that in order to increase awareness among the masses, I.E.C. activities regarding Food Safety Act must be intensified at the grass root level to sensitise people about the value of nutritious food items thus maintaining healthy life.
10 Years Of Misrule By SAD-BJP
6 months not enough to wipe out 10-year legacy of devastation: CM Amarinder
Hitting Out At critics of his government’s rule, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday said while six months was hardly sufficient to judge the fact was that his government had not only implemented many of its poll promises but had also set in moment the process of bringing the beleaguered state economy back on track.
In a statement, the Chief Minister said it was unfortunate that after plunging the state into one of its worst ever financial crises, the Akalis were resorting to street politics in a bid to undermine the numerous achievements of the Congress government. As for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), they had always followed a negative political philosophy and continued to indulge in the same, despite the severe setback in the Punjab assembly polls, he said.
He said his government did not have a magic wand to wipe away the multifarious problems it had inherited from the previous SAD-BJP government as a result of 10 years of its misrule. However, the achievements notched up by his government in just six months had not only set the stage for Punjab’s development but also underlined its intentions and commitment to bring the state back on the path of progress.
Pointing out that the process to waive off farm loans had already been initiated, the Chief Minister said his government was waiting for central assistance in terms of relaxation in the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act, 2003, and enhancement in the borrowing limit to enable the state government to meets its agriculture debt waiver commitments. He said he had already taken up the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Regretting the delay in disbursement of salaries to government employees, Amarinder said the central government’s GST contribution, which had to come in June, had been pushed back to September, leading to postponement in payment of the salaries. Unfortunately, the state, with its empty coffers, was not in a position to pay the salaries from its exchequer in the prevailing circumstances, he said.
On the issue of drugs and unemployment, the Chief Minister said the STF set up by his government had succeeded in breaking the backbone of the drugs mafia in the state in these six months and had created some 3 lakh jobs already for the unemployed youth.
With regard to industrial development, Captain said the Rs 5 per unit power tariff announced by his government would soon be notified and the various projects committed by major industries and business houses were also being rolled out on the ground. The projects would, of course, take some time to be implemented but once done, the state, which had suffered immensely on this count under the previous regime, would witness large-scale industrial revival to boost its economy, he added.
There was not a single pre-poll promise which his government had not already started executing in right earnest, he said, reiterating his commitment to bringing back the lost smiles of the people of Punjab. The smartphone disbursement promised to the youth was also in the process of being worked out, he said, adding that, in view of the financial constraints, the government had to prioritize the various promises, with farm loan waiver topping the agenda.
From social welfare schemes to development programmes, every Congress election promise was in the process of implementation, said the Chief Minister, but added that his government naturally needed time to realize its goals, with six months no yardstick to measure its success or failure.