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AAP urges Narendra Modi to write-off Punjab farmers’ debt; PSBs write-off 1.14 Lakh cores bad debt, reveals RTI

February 14, 2016 | By

Chandigarh: The Aam Aadmi Party has urged Narendra Modi led BJP government in India to write-off 51 thousand crores loan of Punjab farmers. The appeal came in view of a revelation through an RTI that Rs. 1 Lakh and fourteen thousand crores bad loans written off by 27 Public sector banks during the financial years 2012-2015.

Former Bholath MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira, who recently left the Congress party to join the Aam Aadmi Party, raised this demand before Indian PM Narendra Modi through an ‘open letter’ (copy available with the Sikh Siyasat News).

Khaira told Modi that acting upon the instructions of your government the Reserve Bank of India Governor Sh. Raghuram Rajan, had directed Public Sector Banks to clean their balancesheets and write off long pending bad debts.

As per RTI information available from RBI, while 27 Public Sector Banks have written off whopping Rs. 2.11 lac crore bad loans during the last 10 fiscal years (FY’s), a staggering Rs. 1.14 lac crore worth bad debts were written off by government owned banks merely in the last three FY’s, i.e. 2012-15. Alarmingly the said 27 PSU Banks have written off Rs. 52,542 crore bad loans merely in the 2015 FY. The argument to waive off these colossal bad debts is that the Non Performing Assets NPA’s of Public Sector Banks had increased to Rs. 2.67 lac crore in March 2015, he added.

Khaira said that [t]he Governor of RBI is also on record stating that despite waiving off these bad loans, the PSU Banks would still have enough capital or in other words the fiscal health of these banks was quite good.
It is saddening to note that while your government has written off such huge bad loans pertaining to the business community of the country, the farmers of Punjab have been left in the lurch and are resorting to suicides in large numbers, due to mounting loans.

“[A]s per the latest NABARD report the farmers of Punjab are under Rs. 51,000 crore debt forcing them to suicides and taking to drugs in a big way. Only recently one farmer Jaswant Singh of Samana committed suicide on the day the marriage of his daughter was to be solemnized. More than 30 farmers alone of V. Pakkan falling under the assembly constituency of Dy.CM Sukhbir Badal have committed suicide in the last few years.
Sir, I am of the firm opinion that if your government can write off 1.14 lac crore business bad debts of only three years period or write off Rs. 52,542 crore only in the 2015 one fiscal year, waiving off Rs. 51,000 crore debt of the distressed farmers of Punjab, that have accumulated over the last many decades should not be a difficult fiscal proposal”, Khaira wrote in his open letter to Narendra Modi.

He said that the brave farmers of Punjab have made Indian subcontinent self sufficient in terms of food grain production and they have shown the progressive path of farming to the rest of the country.

“They are the pioneers of green and a white revolution, manifold increasing the production of food grain and milk in India”, writes Khaira, adding further: “But now the farmers of Punjab are in dire straits, misery and extreme distress. It is time for the government and people of India to repay their valuable contribution to the growth of our country”.

“In the same breath, you are urged to implement the Swaminathan Committee recommendations as promised prominently by your party in the election manifesto of Lok Sabha polls” said AAP leader.

“These recommendations if implemented in letter and spirit would help improve the crumbling agrarian economy of the country” he added.

Writing on behalf of the Aam Aadmi Party Sukhpal Singh Khaira said: “AAP urges you to personally intervene in the matter and introduce a similar debt waiver for the farmers of Punjab, so that they can heave a sigh of relief. We are also very sure that the bad debts written of PSU banks pertaining to a few hundred or thousand companies, while a such waiver would affect lacs of struggling families of Punjab. I hope our suggestion would be considered at the earliest to ameliorate the lot of farmers”.

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