The Punjab Scheduled Castes, Backward Classes and Minority Welfare Minister Mr. Sadhu Singh Dharamsot today said that to bailout the debt-ridden SC/BC category beneficiaries, the Punjab Government has cleared an amount of Rs.52 crore to give debt waiver to 14260 people hailing from Scheduled Castes and 1630 Backward Classes.Addressing the media persons, Mr. Dharamsot said that those SC-BC debt-ridden people who had taken the loans from Punjab Scheduled Castes Land Development and Finance Corporation (PSCFC) and Punjab Backward Classes Land Development and Finance Corporation (BackFinco), would get a waiver off Rs 50,000. The beneficiaries include defaulters and those who were paying the installments and all remaining debt-ridden people.He disclosed that PSCFC and BackFinco provide loans for shops, general stores, repairs and to start the ventures such as carpentry.The cabinet minister stated that Punjab Government would give a debt waiver of Rs 125 crore to poor people and the waiver would be initiated on April 14 (the birth anniversary of Bharat Ratna Dr. B.R. Ambedkar) when Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh would distribute debt-relief certificates to the tune of Rs. 52 crore during a state-level function at Jalandhar.
He further disclosed that PSCFC and BackFinco came into existence in 1971 and 1976 respectively. He further said that 90 percent of people availing loans from both the corporations have not paid back while those returning the loans amount to only 10 percent that is why the state government has decided to waive off the loans of these categories. During 2017-18, PSCFC gave loans of Rs 5.61 crore to 317 SC youths and 347 BC youths took the loans for the amount of Rs 5.87 crore from BackFinco, he added.On being asked about the scholarships not been distributed, the cabinet minister said that Rs 115 crore received from the union government have been released to the colleges and the utilization certificates have also been sent to the central government. He revealed that soon, the state is going to receive the pending amount of Rs 1700 crore from the union government. He said that the delay in releasing the scholarship amount was due to audit work and those institutes where the records have been satisfactory; the whole amount was released to them. The minister also said that if the Union Government delayed releasing the pending amount of the scholarships then he would sit on a day’s hunger strike in front of the Union Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry’s office.
He also said that during audit those colleges were not given the scholarship amount against whom the objections were raised. He suspected that an embezzlement of Rs 500 crore has surfaced during the audit and stern action would be taken against guilty institutions and amount would be recovered from them with 9 percent interest.Mr. Dharamsot said that Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh is leaving no stone turned to provide relief to each debt-ridden farmer in the state and tomorrow, he would hand over debt-relief certificates to the farmers in Sangrur.He said that Punjab Government would also fulfill its responsibility to help such farmers whose crops got damaged due to inclement weather.On the occasion, Principal Secretary Social Welfare Mr. R Venkatratnam, Director Welfare Mr. Malwinder Singh Jaggi, Raj Bahadur Singh Director SC-BC Sub-plan and several senior officials were present.