BADAL LAMENTS NEGLECT OF PUNJAB BY CENTRE IN AGRICULTURAL
FINANCE, RELIEF AND DEBT WAIVER
CHANDIGARH FEBRUARY 9, 2009
Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today bemoaned the
neglect of Punjab by successive governments at the Centre in agricultural
finance, relief and debt waiver to farmers.
Addressing the inaugural session of the two-day
National Conference on Revival of Rural Credit here at CII, Mr.
Badal said, "Agricultural debt waiver and debt relief scheme
announced by Govt. of India could provide only a relief of Rs.
531.92 crores to nearly 2.02 lacs farmers availing loan from the
Cooperative Credit Structure. This relief from out of Rs. 71000
crores forms only 0.75% against nearly 45% contribution of the
State farmers to the food bowl of the country". He pointed
out that he wrote several O. letters to the Hon'ble Prime Minister
and Union Finance Minister requesting them to waive of the entire
agricultural loan outstanding against the farmers in view of their
contribution to the food security mission of Govt. of India but
no positive response was received. He also mentioned that those
farmers who availed loan before 31.3.1997 and were not able to
repay their loans were deprived of the benefit under the scheme
by Govt. of India. The farmers of the State in-fact suffered heavily
being regular pay masters.
Referring to the Vaidyanathan Committee report
on Short Term Cooperative Credit Structure with a total package
of Rs. 15700 crores released after the recommendations which were
thoroughly debated and consequently the MOU was designed. The
Punjab Government agitated the denial of real benefit to Cooperative
Financing Institutions in States like Punjab although the State
Government to remain in the main stream had agreed to sign the
to MOU. The package provided a premium on in efficiency and reward
with massive doses of money to States, who is cooperative credit
structure performed miserably. Again the proposed package for
Long Term Cooperative Credit Structure when implemented would
provide only Rs. 79.74 crores to 27 Primary Agricultural Cooperative
Development Banks from out of the package of Rs. 4839 crores forming
only 01.65% of the package. "This share of the Punjab Cooperatives
is totally negligible in relation to their contribution to agricultural
production", rued Mr. Badal.
The Chief Minister said that the Union Government
had been insisting on providing adequate agricultural credit to
the farmers with a programme of doubling the agricultural credit
flow in the country but had not taken any initiative in providing
the adequate refinance to either the short term cooperative credit
structure or long term cooperative credit structure in the States.
"The Government of India, therefore, needs to have a re-look
into their programmes relating to agriculture so as to really
benefit the farmers especially of States like Punjab who have
been contributing immensely to the food security of the country",
said Mr. Badal.
In his welcome address Punjab Cooperation Minister Capt. Kanwaljit
Singh said that the State Government had been alive to the issue
of democratic functioning and member participation in decision-making
of the cooperatives so that cooperatives become autonomous and
democratically controlled enterprises. Various measures including
amendment to Punjab Cooperative societies Act, 1961 to ensure
democratic functioning of the cooperatives were under active consideration
of the Govt. "For the success and growth of cooperative enterprises,
it is necessary to have socially-oriented leaders, imbibed with
cooperative spirit and business acumen, the Punjab government
have started new training programmes for the members and elected
representatives of the cooperatives at the grass-root level."
said Capt. Kanwaljit Singh.
Capt. Kanwaljit Singh raised the issue at this forum with President,
International Cooperative Alliance Mr. Ivano Barberini to set
up a Centre of Excellence in Punjab to impart training to the
members of cooperative societies of the State.
Speaking on the occasion, President, International
Cooperative Alliance Mr. Ivano Barberini in the context of rural
cooperative credit said :" Indian case has been classic with
an enabling government policy support and proactive banking regulation
Act. The scope of cooperatives is phenomenal provided the quality
service; quality product and quality attitude is maintained in
the truest spirit of a co-operative banker." He further said
that to change rapidly, the co-operative enterprise needed close
and continuous relationship with its members and stakeholders.
The more a co-operative is organized to be a leader of change,
the more essential is the balance between innovation and continuity,
consistent with its mission.
Mr. Barberini pointed out that it was clear that consistency with
cooperative values does not mean the maintaining of old attitudes
and behaviors. "The future is not built on the laurels of
the past rather the regrets for the past define the lessons for
future. ", he said.
Conceding the demand to set up a state- of- the-
art Institute of Cooperative Training in Punjab, Mr. Barberini
assured Capt. Kanwaljit Singh that he would soon take up this
issue with International Cooperative Alliance, Geneva.
In his address the Union Minister of State for Finance Mr. Pawan
Bansal said that legal frame work must be given to the cooperative
societies to ensure its functioning as an efficient democratically
controlled enterprises. He said Government of India had sanctioned
a loan of Rs. 46,000 Crore to 29500 Primary Agriculture Cooperative
Societies in seven states of the country.
Speaking on the occasion Chairman NCARDB's Federation
Sh. K. Sivadassan Nair, said that Agriculture Rural Development
Banks (ARDB's) should be able to raise own resources and offer
a range of financial services depending on the needs of their
members. This is the core aspect of reforms in the long term credit
structure recommended by various committees including Jagdish
Capoor task Force and Vaidyanathan Task Force as part of the revival
packages suggested be them. He said the Jagdish Capoor Task force
strongly recommended conversion of ARDBs into fullfledged banks
to make them resource based.
Prominent among others who addressed the conference
included Food and Supply Minister Adesh Partap Singh Kairon &
the President NCUI Mr G. H. Amin, The conference was also attended
by Chief Parliamentary Secretary Mr. Jagdeep Singh Nakai, Financial
Commissioner Cooperation Dr. B.C.Gupta, besides the cooperation
Secretaries and Registrars of cooperatives societies from various
states of the country
REVISION OF PHOTO ELECTORAL ROLLS FROM FEBRUARY
10- KUSAMJIT SIDHU
Chandigarh Feb 9, 2009
Ms Kusamjit Sidhu,Chief Electoral Officer,Punjab,here
today informed that the Election Commission of India has decided
for the revision of Photo Electoral Rolls of the 24 Polling Stations
of assembly constituencies,59 -Sahnewal,60 -Ludhiana East,61 -Ludhiana
South and 62-Attam Nagar of Ludhiana district.
Ms Sidhu ,said that the initial publication of Photo Electoral
Rolls of these polling stations would be on February 10, 2009.Citizens
eligible to become voters could fill required form and submit
it to the concerned Election Registration Officer from 10th February
to 16th February 2009.Last publication of Photo Electoral Rolls
would be on 25th February 2009,she said.
Chief Electoral Officer,Punjab,Ms Kusamjit Sidhu
,appealed to general public and political parties to extend coopration
to concerned officers to ensure that the names of eligible voters
should be entered in the Electoral Rolls.
Punjab to export 3000 MT potato to middle east and 2 lac
MT to other states
Chandigarh, Feb 09, 2009
With a view to provide immediate relief to the
potato growers,the Punjab Government today decided to export 3000
Metric Tonnes of potato to the middle east besides another 2 lac
MT to states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh,
West Bengal and Tamil Nadu through its agency MARKFED. This was
stated by Punjab Cooperation Minister Capt.Kanwaljit Singh here
While interacting with the media persons,Capt.
Singh said that a team of Markfed officials had already been in
Dubai to finalize the export of potato and the traders based there
have also shown keen interest in importing potatoes. He said that
there was no upper limit on export of potato and to make the prices
more remunerative the Government has decided to provide Rs 1500
per MT as freight subsidy to the growers. Similarly, on the potato
to be sent to other states the Government will provide a freight
subsidy of Rs 400 per MT as compared to Uttar Pradesh where the
freight subsidy on export is Rs 1000 per MT and Rs 250 per MT
on potato send to other states. The Government will ensure that
growers get benefit of freight subsidy, he added.
He expressed confidence that this step would provide
immediate benefit to farmers thereby easing the potato glut situation.
He further said that the Punjab's Marketing Federation
- MARKFED - has achieved 'Eurogap' certificate for exports to
European Union. He urged that private exporters keen to export
potato to coordinate with the Markfed. He said that the arrangements
of standardisation, packaging and certification will be made by
the MARKFED and it would play an important role of facilitator
to bail out the potato growers of the state.
The Minister further said that the state Government would make
concert efforts to export maximum potato to foreign countries
besides making it a regular feature.
He disclosed that the total production of potato
in the state was 18-19 lakh tones while the present storage capacity
was lakh MT in the state
FREIGHT SUBSIDY ON POTATO MARKETING ANNOUNCED
Chandigarh; February 9
Punjab Chief Minister Punjab Mr. Parkash Singh
Badal has sanctioned a corpus fund of Rs. 5 Crore from Rural Development
Fund (RDF) for operating a freight subsidy of Rs. 400 per ton
for purposes of marketing of potatoes within India and Rs. 1500
per ton for export.
This was disclosed here today, by Mr. R.I.Singh,
Chief Secretary Punjab at a meeting with the officers of the department
of Agriculture, Markfed ,Mandi Board and representatives of the
Associations of Potato Growers of Punjab. While addressing the
meeting Mr. Singh said that the subsidy would be administered
by Punjab Mark fed. He also said that the Punjab Government was
aware of the fact that the potato growing farmers in the state
were facing challenging situation because of the potato glut in
the market and adequate steps were being taken to address the
situation.. Adding further the Chief Secretary said that earlier
potatoes were being exported to Pakistan from Punjab but it has
now been stopped because of the high import duty levied by the
Government of Pakistan since January this year. The Chief Minister
Mr. Badal would take up this issue with the Prime Minister, Dr.
Man Mohan Singh so that it could be resolved soon, assured Mr.
Singh. About 19Lakh M.Tone of production of potatoes was expected
Reviewing the shortage of sunflower seed in the
state, the Chief Secretary held the meeting with the representatives
of the seed companies and asked them to ensure adequate supply
of seeds in the coming weeks. The Chief Secretary also said that
the uninterrupted water and electricity supply would be made available
to the farmers for sowing the alternate crop like Maize in the
state. He also said that the government would take appropriate
action against those who were exploiting the farmers by selling
the seed in black in the market.
Mr. N.S.Kang Financial Commissioner Development, Mr. Balwinder
Singh Sidhu , Director Agriculture,Dr Baldev Singh, Director Horticulture,
MD Mark fed and Secretary Punjab Mandi board along with the representatives
of the Potato Growers Associations were present in the meeting.