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Punjab, Haryana farm growth less than 1 pc: Jha
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 28
The agricultural growth in Punjab and Haryana is less than one per cent. Almost 78 per cent of all farm households in Punjab are under debt, amounting to a whopping Rs 57,000 crore.

While only 19.42 per cent of this debt is due to commercial banks, 46.32 per cent of the loans have been taken from commission agents, 27.14 per cent from cooperative institutions and 7.12 per cent on mortgages.

This was stated by Dr S .C Jha, Member, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, while delivering the key note address at the Regional Seminar on "Farm and Finance — 2006 and Beyond", organised by Dr Amrik Singh Cheema Foundation Trust, here today.

Dr Jha said that the agrarian crisis in the food bowl of India must be solved at the earliest. “It is Punjab's agricultural base and the farmers' entrepreneurship which can help us participate substantially in global trade,” he said.

Mr Pawan Bansal, Minister of State for Finance, who inaugurated the seminar, said "the need of the hour is to devise a system for agriculture marketing, directly from the field. This will improve the profit margins of the farmers. The wastage of farm produce should be controlled, and crop insurance in the farm sector, which is just 3.5 per cent, has to be improved," he said.

Mr Bansal advocated that the farmers should get a better share of profit that accrue from the land after it has been acquired. "They should not only get compensation for the land acquired, but also have a share in the profits that accrue from this land later," he said.

On this occasion, over 200 farmers from different parts of Punjab and Haryana, who had come here, came out with the reasons for the agrarian crisis, and suggestions to resolve this crisis. The farmers, who had an interface with bankers and agri-economists, alleged that those with small and marginal land holdings were not being advanced loans by banks. They also said that the land holdings in the state had become small, and 60 per cent of landlords had less than five acres.

Farmers from Haryana demanded that the 1.5 per cent stamp duty on Kisan Credit cards, and also requested the bankers to ensure that no fixed deposits are demanded by banks, for advancing loans to them.


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