ECP likely to scrap PM’s Kissan package today

Updated September 29, 2015

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ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is likely to scrap Nawaz Sharif’s Rs341 billion Kissan package on Tuesday.

The Kissan package was announced ahead of the local government elections in the province.

According to sources, secretaries of the Ministry of National Food and Security and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting are set to appear before the ECP to justify the announcement of the package and its publicity after the issuance of the local bodies election schedule.

The prime minister had announced the package on September 15 of this year and the commission took notice of this before Eid, after advertisements began appearing across the media.

An ECP official said under the code of conduct public officeholders, including the premier, were barred from announcing schemes after the declaration of an election schedule, which could potentially influence voters.

Projection of the package in the media was a violation of the code of conduct of the ECP and now two federal secretaries will appear before the ECP to justify the action.

The ECP official said the food and security secretary had been asked to bring along all related documents and details of the package.

The said package included relief packages for small-scale farmers and included direct cash support and soft agriculture loans.

Addressing a farmers’ convention on September 15 at the Jinnah Convention Centre, the prime minister had said the package aimed to introduce progressive agriculture along scientific lines, to reduce production costs and to make small-scale farmers prosperous.

The premier said the country’s development was dependent on the uplift of its agricultural sector.

He said that farmers will get their share of Rs147 billion as direct benefits while Rs194 billion had been allocated for agricultural loans.

He had said farmers cultivating rice and cotton on up to 12.5 acres of land will be given cash support of Rs5,000 per acre.

He said that because of this facility, the government will bear the cost of Rs20 billion each for rice and cotton crops.

The prime minister had said the global cost reduction of agricultural commodities had affected farmer’s income.

He said the problem was further intensified by an increase in the prices of seeds, fertilisers and pesticides.

He then announced Rs20 billion in funds to help reduce prices of fertilisers which will decrease the price of potassium and nitrate fertilisers by Rs500 per bag.

Published in Dawn September 29th, 2015

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