CHANDIGARH, OCTOBER 23: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday rejected as inadequate the paltry Rs. 85 per quintal hike in wheat MSP announced by the Centre, saying it was not enough to even meet the increase in agricultural input costs.
Terming it a mere cosmetic measure that only paid lip service to the needs of the farmers, the Chief Minister said the hike was insufficient to provide even interim relief to the beleaguered farming community, leave alone to address their long-term concerns.
The Chief Minister also flayed the central government over its failure to announce the bonus of Rs 100 per quintal which Punjab had been persistently and repeatedly demanding for post-harvest management of stubble. This showed the total lack of concern on the part of the Modi government for the welfare of the farmers, who were living in pitiable condition, with many of them driven to suicide across the nation, he added.
The Chief Minister pointed out that the latest MSP hike for Wheat did not meet the state government’s demand for 50% hike over and above C2 (a comprehensive cost, accounting for the rentals and interest forgone on owned land and fixed capital assets over A2 + FL, which covers the actual paid out costs plus an imputed value of unpaid family labour).
The increase announced by Centre did not meet the expectations of the distressed farming community, nor was it adequate to address the root of the problem, as identified by the Swaminathan Commission, said Captain Amarinder Singh, reiterating his demand for in toto implementation of the MS Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations.
The Modi Government, pointed out the Chief Minister, had also failed to ensure the purchase of other crops at MSP to bring the farmers out of the vicious wheat-rice cultivation cycle, which was depleting the water table, besides impacting the incomes of the farming community.
The Chief Minister lamented the total lack of empathy for the farmers on the part of the BJP-led government at the Centre, which had not taken a single meaningful initiative to alleviate their woes since taking over more than five years ago. In contrast to the Congress-led governments in Punjab and other states, the central government had not waived off a single paisa of the debts of the farmers, who continued to reel under huge burdens, he added, pointing out that loans to the tune of Rs. 4609.08 crores had been settled by his government for 5.61 lakh marginal and small farmers in the state so far.
While the state was doing its best to address the immediate problems of the farmers, a pro-farmer national policy needed to be formulated by the Centre to facilitate a permanent solution to their woes, said the Chief Minister.