The Punjab government is reviewing the provision of extension in retirement age by two years, from 58 to 60 years. This was disclosed on Monday by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh at a media interaction after casting his vote for the presidential election in the Assembly.

The government, he said, 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 under discussion. The matter was being reviewed and a policy decision would be taken only after a detailed analysis of the implications of any change with regard to the existing policy, he said.

To a question on the SYL issue, the CM said the state had been engaged in fruitful talks with the Centre to find an early and amicable solution to the issue. The state government, he said, had requested the Ministry of Water Resources, Government of India (GoI), to assess the existing quantum of river water before the issue is finally adjudicated upon. He denied having discussed the SYL 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 CM said that the government was already in the process of settlement with banks. He pointed out that Finance Minister Manpreet Badal had said the waiver scheme would be implemented by the government within a week.

CM said the final report on debt waiver by the expert committee headed by Dr 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, Capt Amarinder clarified that the state government was trying to mobilise additional financial resources to narrow the widening budget deficit and the finance minister was working in this direction.

Asked to comment on the possible candidature of PPCC president Sunil Jakhar from Gurdaspur Parliamentary seat, which was vacated due to the demise of BJP MP Vinod Khanna, the CM said there had been no discussion on Jakhar’s name for nomination so far.