North Gazette News/Chandigarh
Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal on Saturday urged the Central government to adopt Swaminathan formula while fixing MSP of crops to bail out farming of Punjab and Haryana from the present crisis.
Badal said that implementing Swaminathan’s formula of (Cost + 50% profit) for fixing MSP is the viable solution to stabilize the present crisis in agriculture economy of the country. “Moreover, it was also the major issue of NDA’s agenda,” Badal said.
He expressed full faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said that it is the right time now when this formula could be implemented under the leadership of Modi.
“Punjab, which was known as the ‘Granary of India’ with just 1.5 percent of the country’s total land, had always ensured India’s food security by producing almost 50 percent of the total food grains. Punjab’s farmers have a record of pulling the country out of the era of food shortages. But in this process, they have sacrificed their vital natural resources like ground water and soil fertility that resulted in the reduction of farm income substantially,” Badal said.
He also pointed out that the agriculture crisis in Punjab was very acute as presently farmers were under heavy debt of Rs 30, 000 Crore.
Advocating for setting up of separate union budget for agriculture like railway budget, Badal said that this crisis was becoming more and more serious with each passing day, as growth in agriculture was not keeping pace with other sectors of economy.
He said that nearly 60 percent of country’s population was still dependent on agriculture but its contribution to GDP has dropped to 17 percent that was earlier 65 percent in 1965-66. He further said that the debt burden on the farmers was on rise consistently compelling them to end their lives.
Seeking the central assistance for Agriculture research programme and diversification, the Chief Minister suggested that the GoI should also invest in agricultural research and mechanization development, besides Diversification, which was the major need of the hour and could only be made successful with necessary government’s support, especially in the progressive states like Punjab and Haryana. In Agro-industry sector fruit, vegetables and food processing, could also generate profit through value addition strategy but GoI must ensure proper marketing facility first.
He congratulated the CII for this noble venture and said that Agro Tech had emerged as an ideal platform for all the stakeholders in the sector to come together and deliberate upon the latest in Agriculture, in India and abroad.
Badal also released the theme paper of CII Agro Tech 2014, inaugurated exhibition and took a round of the exhibition along with the Chief Minister of Haryana Manohar Lal Khattar and the Premier of Saskatchewan, Canada Brad Wall.
In his address the Premier of Saskatchewan (Canada) Brad Wall said that he had series of talks with the Chief Ministers and Officers of both Punjab and Haryana to explore the scope of bilateral cooperation in the agriculture and other sectors.
Expressing high hopes in strengthening the relations between two countries he offered full support and cooperation to Punjab for initiating joint ventures in various fields like food technology, food processing, agri Bio-technology, Post-Harvest Management / Handling and Cold chain.
Badal While addressing the inaugural session of the CII Agro Tech 2014, India’s premier biennial agro technology and business fair in sector 17, where he shared the dais with the Chief Minister of Haryana Mr. Manohar Lal Khattar and the Premier of Saskatchewan, Canada Mr. Brad Wall.