Chandigarh: Five time Chief Minister of Punjab Sardar Parkash Singh Badal today hailed the decision of the NDA government to affect a steep hike in minimum support prices (MSP) for food grains, pulses, oil seeds and cotton to ensure a profit margin of more than fifty per cent on costs of agricultural inputs, including labour. He personally congratulated the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on behalf of the Punjab farmers on fulfilling his commitment to farmers to implement the recommendations of Dr Swaminathan on giving farmers a profit of 50 per cent over and above their cost of production.
Badal also lauded the decision of the Union Government to sanctionover 2.10 crores as relief for the innocent Jodhpur detainees who had suffered for no fault of theirs during the army assault on the holiest of the holy shrines of the Sikhs, Shri Harmandar Sahib in June 1984.
In his statement here, the former Punjab Chief Minister said that the bold initiative of the Union government to order this unprecedented hike in MSP of various crops, speaks of the commitment of the NDA government to come to the aid of the farming community in its hour of dire need. The former Chief Minister said while this hike amounted to an acceptance in principle of the recommendations inherent in the Swaminthan formula to give farmers a 50% profit over inputs costs, it would also go a long way in steering them out of the crisis into which they had fallen while helping the country in fighting the menace of food shortages of the sixties and the early seventies.
Mr Badal said it was heartening to note that the country had not forgotten how the farmers made the country economically self sufficient by turning it from a land of food shortages and famines to a country of food surpluses. Mr Badal said farmers were the back bone of India’s rise to the status of an economic super power which the country enjoys today. “The PM has done well to farmers that the country has not forgotten their brave and selfless contribution to the nation when it needed it themost”.
Thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as BJP President Amit Shah for heeding the SAD pleas on this issue, Badal said Shah had personally given him an assurance to this effect when he met the Akali leaders in Chandigarh last month. Mr Badal said that he had informed the BJP president about the pathetic plight faced by the farmers leading to the shocking phenomenon of farmers suicides. More than 500 farmers have committed suicides in Punjab this year alone.
Badal hoped that the Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amaridner Singh too would find time to thank the Prime Minister for this gesture. It may be recalled that the the Akali leaders had pressed for higher MSP of crops to help the farmers in the crisis being faced by them when the BJP president Amit Shah had met the Akali High Command during his visit to Chandigarh last month. The Akali leaders had discussed the issue in depth and briefed Shri Amit Shah on how Punjab farmers were suffering due to the Congress government’s refusal to implement the Rs 90,000 crore farm loan waiver promised to them. The issue was taken up with the Prime Minister when an SAD delegation called upon him to thank him for waiving GST on langar in gurdwaras as well as all other religious and charitable institutions. Union food processing minister had also taken up this issue at the highest level.