The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Wednesday said that farmers in Punjab will continue to get subsidies, including free power to farm tube wells if the Arvind Kejriwal-led outfit is voted to power in the 2017 Assembly elections.
Whatever (subsidy) is being given to farmers at present, we will give more not less than it,” AAP&’s Punjab unit leader Kanwar Sandhu said.
As farmers make the most powerful vote bank in Punjab, the state government provides free power to farming sector at a cost of Rs.6,000 crore, besides subsidies.
In its bid to win the coming state assembly elections, the AAP is also targeting farmers by promising to continue the subsidies and prevent suicides by farmers through a “debt relief package”.
The AAP said Punjab farmers are under the burden of over Rs.1 lakh crore loans – Rs 77,000 crore institutional loans and Rs 26,000 crore loans provided by money lenders — at present.
AAP national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will release the “Farmers’ Manifesto” on September 11 at Moga. He will meet farmers during his three-day tour beginning 9 September. Earlier on July 3, Kejriwal had released the 51-Point Youth Manifesto in Amritsar.
The AAP will finally release a comprehensive "AAP Manifesto – Mission 2017", giving out the vision of the AAP for Punjab for 2017 and beyond.
Sandhu said it will roll out an "action plan" to prevent suicides by farmers and farm labourers. A major Debt Relief Package is on the cards as the AAP is committed to zero-farmer suicide within one year of the formation of government, he added.
Sandhu said this manifesto is a comprehensive document to cover all aspects affecting the Punjab farmer to go beyond the Green Revolution which has hit a plateau. There is a need of rainbow diversification in Punjab to bring farmers out of the vicious circle of wheat-paddy cycle, he added.
He said farmers manifesto has been prepared after holding eight dialogues with farmers in different regions of Punjab – Moga, Talwandi Bhai, Bathinda, Mansa, Nadala, Hoshiarpur and Tarn Taran, besides Ludhiana (dairy farmers).
The team considered nearly 2,400 suggestions received in writing, besides 5,000 emails, SMS and Whatsapp messages. Over 200 suggestions in the form of emails came from Punjabis settled abroad, who related their farming experiences abroad.