Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday met Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and sought from the central government one-time settlement of the Rs 6,000 crore loans taken by the states farmers from national and private banks.
“Such a settlement will benefit 4.5 lakh of the state’s beleaguered farmers,” the Chief Minister told Jaitely.
Singh sought the Minister’s intervention to convert the Rs 6,000 crore loan into term loan by giving requisite directions to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
“Of the total debt of small and marginal farmers waived by the state, Rs 3,600 crore relates to loan from cooperatives, with the remaining Rs 6,000 crore coming from banks. These banks were giving unethical loans to the farmers, pushing them into a vicious cycle of debt,” said the Chief Minister.
The Chief Minister also urged the Finance Minister to waive off GST on langar and prasad given out at gurdwaras, temples, churches and mosques.
Singh had earlier written to the Jaitley seeking GST exemption on Langar (community kitchen) and the prasad distributed at various religious institutions.
Singh also discussed with the finance minister the issue of settlement of Rs. 31,000 crore CCL (Cash Credit Limit) related debt to ease the state’s financial burden.
The Chief Minister requested Jaitley to set up a committee on the issue, which he had earlier taken up with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Finance Minister directed department officials to look into all the issues and coordinate with the Punjab government to resolve them.
Singh also met Union Minister of Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari to discuss the proposed Delhi-Amritsar-Katra Expressway as well as various pending Punjab road and highway projects.