The Punjab government is reviewing the provision of extension of retirement age for two years, over and above the age of 58, in a bid to increase more employment opportunities, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh said. During a media interaction after casting his vote for the presidential election at the Vidhan Sabha, he said that the government was mulling a policy change to fix 58 as the retirement age to generate more employment opportunities for the state’s youth but the issue was still being discussed.
The matter was being reviewed and a policy decision would be taken only after detailed analysis of the implications of any change with regard to the existing policy, he added. To a question on the Sutlej-Yamuna-Link (SYL) canal issue, the chief minister said the state had been engaged in talks with the Centre to find an early and amicable solution.
The state government, he said, had requested the Union water resources ministry to assess the existing quantum of river water before the issue was finally adjudicated upon. He, however, denied having discussed the SYL issue with the prime minister, saying no talks had yet been convened on the issue.
Responding to a question on delay in repayment of crop loans by the farmers in the wake of debt waiver announced by his government, the chief minister said that the government was already in the process of settlement with banks. He said that Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal had said the waiver scheme would be implemented by the government within a week.
Singh said the final report on debt waiver by the expert committee headed by T Haq was awaited to enable the government to take a holistic view of the problem and find ways and means to implement farm debt waiver in right earnest.
On the possibility of imposition of any new taxes, the chief minister said that the state government was trying to mobilise additional financial resources to narrow the widening budget deficit and the finance minister was working in it. Asked to comment on the possible PPCC President Sunil Jakhar being made a candidate from Gurdaspur parliamentary seat, which has fallen vacant due to the demise of BJP MP Vinod Khanna, the chief minister said there had been no discussion on Jakhar’s name so far.