Pawan Bansal rejects Badal's demand for spl package

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Chandigarh, Mar 15 (UNI) Union Minister of State for Finance Pawan Bansal today rejected Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal's demand for Rs 20,000 crore special package for the state in view of depletion of natural resources (soil and water), saying there was no logic in such a demand.

'Mr Badal thinks the Centre has a minting machine and it can disburse any amount of money to states. His Finance Minister Manpreet Badal has a good knowledge of economic matters. Why does not he make him understand these matters,'' he quipped while responding to reporters' queries in a 'Meet-the-Press' programme at the Chandigarh Press Club here.

He also dismissed the demand by Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal that the government should pay the debts of farmers due to the commission agents.

''Such demands are being made to mislead the people as the Opposition is taken aback by the historic decision taken by the UPA government to waive agricultural loans of farmers to the tune of Rs 60,000 crore.

Mr Badal, he said, had been a Central minister and had never made such a demand when the NDA was in power.

Asked if the state government paid the loans of farmers taken from money lenders, could the Centre reimburse the money, the Minister said the Central government was in no position to reimburse the money to the state governments on this account.

Mr Bansal said the loan waiver scheme would cover as many as 30 per cent farmers in Punjab while the remaining 70 per cent would get the benefit of 25 per cent waiver of loans.

In Haryana, he said, as many as 73.6 per cent of the total farmers in the state would be benefitted by the scheme while the remaining 26.4 per cent would get the 25 per cent benefit.

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