Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday announced that a number of free benefits to the citizens of the state will continue. This includes free power to farmers and subsidies to the industry. Along with this, 200 free units of power to the Scheduled Castes, those below poverty line and Backward Classes households and freedom fighters will be continued.
Making it clear that these benefits would not be withdrawn by his government at any cost, the Chief Minister said his government was totally committed to the welfare of all sections of the people, with focus on the development of key sectors, including agriculture and industry.
There are approximately 14.23 lakh tube-wells in the state, and the total subsidy borne by the state is Rs 5,733 crore for the year 2018-19, and Rs 6,060 crore for the year 2019-20, said Singh, thus benefitting 14.23 lakh farmers.
Besides, 1.36 lakh industries had so far received Rs 6,010 crore in power subsidy, while 24.31 lakh domestic consumers were getting free power, he added.
Underlining his government’s commitment to ‘Khushaal Kissan and Kamyab Punjab’, the Chief Minister also announced in the Vidhan Sabha that the remaining 1.13 lakh of the 5.64 lakh small and marginal farmers eligible for the state government’s debt waiver scheme, would be covered within the next fiscal year.
Further, his government had decided to disburse Rs 520 crore to 2.85 lakh landless farm labourers who are members of the Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies, he said.
Singh said during their tenure, the Akalis did not give even a penny to the farmers as relief.
Disclosing that farmers’ incomes have increased through higher quantities purchased on MSP in the state, the Chief Minister said food grains purchased annually were 213.5 lakh million tones (yearly average) during 2007-2017, and had increased to 285 lakh million tones (yearly average) during 2017-21.
He said the total remuneration of farmers from government procurement of foodgrains has gone up to Rs 2.16 lakh crore since April 2017 — an increase of about Rs 90,668 crore over the earnings in the corresponding procurement seasons of the previous government.
Thus, the farmers’ incomes through sale of foodgrains has increased by more than 72 per cent ever since the government took over in March 2017, said Singh, adding that all payments to farmers were done online bringing more transparency.