After a number of Congress-ruled states announced farm loan waiver, the BJP government in Haryana is considering a pension scheme for farmers by expanding the Centre’s Atal Pension Yojana (APY) ahead of the 2019 Assembly polls.
Under APY, the Centre contributes 50 per cent of the total contribution or Rs 1,000 per annum whichever is lower, to each eligible subscriber. The Haryana government may introduce the scheme for farmers by adding its additional share for the scheme.
A senior Haryana BJP leader, who did not wish to be named, admitted that loan waiver issue had again come into spotlight after recent Assembly polls in five states and subsequent loan waiver by Congress-ruled states.
“Now, we have to do something on these lines. Initially, we are seriously considering pension scheme for farmers,” said the BJP leader but added that “the scheme is yet to be finalised”.
‘Haryana’s opposition parties, including Congress and INLD, have already promised farm loan waiver if they are voted to power in upcoming Assembly polls. The Assembly elections are due in October 2019. The opposition is likely to raise this issue during the Winter Session of Assembly scheduled from December 28.
The senior BJP leader, who spoke to The Indian Express, said the modalities are yet to be finalised for the proposed pension scheme. “Under the Centre’s APY, pension ranging from Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000 is given to the workers of unorganised sector after a contribution from the government and the worker himself. We want to extend this scheme to the Haryana farmers adding state government’s contribution,” he added.
“The pension amount will depend on the contribution by the farmers concerned. For example, if a farmer starts depositing a specific amount in young age, then the monthly pension at the age of 60 year may be Rs 5,000. But if he deposits the same amount at later stage, then it can be just Rs 1,000.” The BJP leader added, “We already give a monthly pension of Rs 2,000 to senior citizens under social security pension. We are considering whether this amount of Rs 2,000 should be added in the new pension scheme or it should continue in the existing form.”
Bhartiya Kisan Union Haryana unit president Gurnam Singh Chaduni said he would like to wait the final modalities of pension scheme before commenting. “If government contributes considerable amount for pension scheme, then it would be a welcome step. We also suggest to give incentives to the farmers in proportionate to their production of crops.”