Punjab rejects Centre’s hike of wheat MSP as ‘inadequate’

Chandigarh, Oct 24 (IANS) Rejecting the hike in Minimum Support Price (MSP) for wheat announced by the central government on Tuesday, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Sngh termed it as “inadequate” and demanded a review in line with the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission.

In a statement issued here, the Chief Minister said the increase of Rs 110 a quintal in the MSP of wheat and Rs 200 per quintal for pulses would not help achieve the objective of boosting the output of these crops and checking prices.
“The move would also not, in any way, provide much relief to the distressed farmers of the country, reeling under huge debt burdens and struggling to make both ends meet,” Amarinder said.
The Chief Minister said if the Centre was serious about uplifting agriculture in the country and alleviating the woes of the farmers, it would need to go beyond such tokenism to announce far-reaching changes in the MSP and other welfare initiatives, including debt waiver, in the interest of the farming community.
“The Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations on MSP need to be implemented urgently, in toto, if the country’s agricultural system has to survive and prosper,” the Chief Minister said.
Citing the Swaminathan Commission report, Amarinder Singh said the only long-term solution to the crisis faced by the farming community lay in giving attractive remuneration to the farmers through pricing and procurement based on total cost of production plus 50 per cent, as recommended by the Commission.
“The Centre, by continuing to ignore the recommendations of Swaminathan Commission, was worsening the situation instead of finding solutions,” the Chief Minister warned.
He urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene and order a review of the MSP to ensure a proper remunerative pricing policy for the farmers, as per the Commission’s report.
He also requested the Prime Minister to take cognizance of the demand of the Punjab government for incorporation of stubble burning compensation at Rs 100 per quintal in the MSP for paddy.

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