CHANDIGARH: Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh Saturday urged Prime Minister Modi to ensure urgent resolution to the ongoing farmers‘ “unrest”, and an early release of the state’s pending GST compensation.
In his pre-recorded address for the sixth Governing Council virtual meeting of Niti Aayog, Amarinder reiterated his government’s stand that agriculture is a state subject and law-making on it should be left to the states in the true spirit of “cooperative federalism” enshrined in the Constitution.
Citing strong apprehension that the MSP-based procurement regime may be discontinued in view of the Shanta Kumar Committee Report of 2015, he also stressed the need for the government to decisively dispel any such impression “to instill proper confidence in the farmers of the State.”
He also used the forum to once again reiterate the state government’s demand for a bonus of Rs 100/quintal of paddy procured as ‘Paddy Straw Management Compensation’.
The Punjab CM underlined the importance of aligning the cropping system to agro-climatic conditions at the district level for optimum use of resources. He suggested the government to designate agencies to procure and provide MSP matching the returns of wheat and paddy in order to incentivize the farmers to take up cultivation of alternate crops and thereby achieve diversification. He also sought the government’s support and liberal financial assistance to facilitate the state’s programmes and schemes for diversification towards nutri-cereals, pulses, horticulture, fisheries and animal husbandry.
Highlighting the need for water conservation, he pitched for support on Punjab’s pilot project – ‘Pani Bachao Paisa Kamao (PBPK)’ – as a national project, for which a feasibility report amounting to Rs 433.00 crore has already been submitted by the state to the Central Water Commission. He further sought a Deficiency Price Support for alternative crops like maize, in order to encourage farmers to diversify out of the water-intensive paddy crop.
He also urged the central government to devise a cluster development scheme, on the lines of the MSME sector, for the Food Processing Sector for creating ‘Common Facilities’ in every agri cluster which will supplement the 3 mega food parks established in the state.