Badal wants review of minimum support price procedure

Chandigarh : Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal Sunday urged the central government to review the procedure for fixing the minimum support price (MSP) for crops to make it more remunerative and improve the viability of farming.

Dwelling on the formula to be evolved for fixing the MSP, Badal said it should be fixed on the basis of not only paid-out costs and input costs but also the value for managerial input of the farmer.

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He pointed out that farmers and their families worked round-the-clock on the farm as labour as well as a skilled force by managing farm machinery.

In a statement here, he said that Punjab farmers, who were the biggest contributors of food grain to the national kitty, should be duly compensated for aptly managing their farms.

Batting for the implementation of renowned agro-scientist Dr M.S. Swaminathan’s formula for fixing the MSP, Badal said this should include the cost of cultivation plus a margin of 50 percent, as suggested by the chairman of the National Farmers Commission.

The chief minister contended that this was essential not only to provide for viability of farming but also for development of new infrastructure required for adoption of improved technologies.

He urged the central government to ensure that farmers must continue to get the prevailing market prices for their produce when any change was made in the import or export regulations and tariffs to safeguard the interest of consumers.

Badal said he has deputed Financial Commissioner Development (FCD) Suresh Kumar to take up the entire matter for the fixation of MSP according to Punjab’s recommendations with the director of National Centre for Agriculture Economics and Policy Research (NCAP).

Punjab, with only 1.54 percent of India’s geographical area, produces around 20 percent of wheat, 10 percent of rice and 10 percent of cotton of the country. The state alone contributes over 50 percent food grain to the national kitty.

“The state has contributed significantly to the national pool of food grain, making the country self-sufficient in food grain and food security. The assured procurement of food grain at MSP has played a key role in this development. The farmers of Punjab have been demanding a review of the procedure to fix the MSP to make it remunerative and thereby improve the viability of farming,” Badal said.