Chandigarh, September 8 – Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Singh Badal today outrightly rejected the meager Rs 40 per quintal hike in the minimum support price (msp) for wheat announced by the union government and demanded an increase in msp by at least Rs 150 per quintal to give a remunerative price to farmers for their produce. He also sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s immediate intervention to ensure farmers were not short-changed.
In a statement here, the SAD president said at a time when farmers across the country were aggrieved with the BJP led NDA government for failing to respect their sentiments by repealing the three agriculture laws, the centre had gone ahead and announced the lowest msp hike in recent years. “This is akin to sprinkling salt on the wounds of the farmers”, he said while demanding an Rs 150 per quintal hike in the msp for wheat.
The SAD President said it was shocking that the government was not taking into account the unprecedented increase in the prices of diesel and fertilizers in the last one year. “It has also failed to calculate the msp by taking into account all comprehensive costs of farmers including land rental and interest forgone on owned land and fixed capital assets. Fifty per cent profit should be ensured to farmers after calculating all comprehensive costs incurred by him instead of a rudimentary calculation of his expenditure”.
Badal said the low msp announced by the centre would result in a slowdown in agriculture growth at a time when the country needed to give a boost to its agri-economy. “These kinds of meager hand outs to farmers will also ensure the NDA government’s purported resolve to double farm income by 2022 will not be achieved. In fact farm income will reduce in real terms if the msp is not hiked immediately”, he added.
The SAD President also requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene and take steps to give a much needed push to the agriculture economy. He said tax should be removed on agricultural inputs besides giving incentives on marketing and exporting agriculture produce. “The centre also needs to earmark a financial outlay to help farmers check depletion of soil nutrients besides extending subsidies on water management measures to check ground water depletion”