Specttrum News :: Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, inaugurated the first ever "Progressive Punjab Agriculture Summit" near Chandigarh and stressed upon the need of separate budget for agriculture sector on the lines of Railway Budget to solve the problems pertaining to agriculture sector and farmers.
The chief minister said, "Since over 55% of the population is dependent on agriculture, there is an urgent need to address their problems and to make farming remunerative. In order to address the problems, I suggest that there should be separate budget for the Agriculture sector.
He said, "The need of the hour is to completely overhaul the centre’s policy in order to safeguard the interest of farmers." He also added that the plan allocation to agriculture sector should be enhanced to 10% from 3.7% at present to give a fillip to this sector.
He asked the Centre to implement agriculture scientist M S Swaminathan’s formula to hike MSP by providing a margin of 50% over the cost of production to the farmers to ensure remunerative prices of their produce. He informed since agriculture is becoming non-remunerative, about one lakh farmers left farming in Punjab alone
In order to promote diversification in Punjab, he added that the Centre must grant Rs 5000 crore for diversification in the state. Badal added, "We have written a letter to the centre government to give Rs 5000 crore for diversification, so that we can diversify and cultivate other crops. In addition to this, the centre should fix MSP of Maize and Soyabean to promote these crops.” He also added that there should be capital subsidy to promote agro-processing or food processing in the country.
The agriculture summit was organized with a view to offer a healthy platform to transform the lives of farmers especially the small and marginal ones by evolving consensus to chalk out a pro-farmer action plan for the overall agriculture development in the country after marathon discussions with internationally acclaimed agri-experts economists, researchers and scientists besides eminent political leaders to safeguards the interests of the beleaguered peasantry which was passing through a deep crisis.