Manmeet Singh Gill
Tribune News Service
Amritsar, June 20
The maiden budget of the state government has received a mixed response from the general public. While many residents said the government had failed to fulfil its pre-poll promises, others welcomed the budget for the provisions to increase pension
The government has taken decisions to increase the amount under the ‘shagun’ scheme, increase the pension amount and waive farmers’ loans, but the critics said that these announcements fell short of the promises made by the Congress before the elections.
The critics also said that on the agricultural loan-waiver, the government should have come out with a policy to save farmers from the clutches of moneylenders and arhtiyas.
“The marginal farmers, especially those who own less than two or three acres of land, are often not given loans by banks. The only way out for them is non-institutional lending services. The government announcement will not benefit them, as is being projected,” said Satwant Singh, a progressive farmer.
The Aam Aadmi Party, too, has criticised the government on issues such as the loan-waiver and a provision of Rs 21 crore for furniture in government schools, terming it as insufficient.
District president of the party Kulbir Singh said, “With such low money for improving infrastructure, the government schools cannot be expected to compete with the private schools.” He added that the budget was silent about creating jobs, whereas the party had promised jobs for one member of each family.
The Kisan Sangharsh Committee president, Satnam Singh Pannu, said, “The total loan given to farmers from sectors such as the commercial sector, private banks, arhtiyas and moneylenders amounts to Rs 73,000 crore.” He said to save the farming sectors from debt ‘pangs’, the government should have considered all modes of loans. He said the government was evasive about fulfilling its promise of waiving all kinds of loans and the Kisan Sangharsh Committee would soon take to the streets on this issue.
The BJP leader, Rajinder Mohan Singh Chhina, denounced the budget as `directionless’. He said it failed to provide a road map for development, as the key sectors including agriculture and industry were left bereft of solid support. “The farmers are feeling cheated, as the promise was to waive all loans and not just crop loans and that, too, up to Rs 2 lakh,” he said.
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