Niti Aayog meet: Punjab CM bats for legal guarantee to MSP

  • | Sunday | 7th August, 2022

New Delhi, Aug 7 (PTI) Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Sunday called for granting legal guarantee for Minimum Support Price (MSP) on crops to safeguard the interest of farmers.He also urged the Centre to ensure a foolproof marketing system for alternative crops.The chief minister, while addressing the national council meeting of Niti Aayog chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi here, recalled that at the time when the country was starving, the hard working and resilient farmers of Punjab had made the country self-reliant in food production.However, as agriculture is no longer a profitable venture, the farmers are facing a serious crisis, he said.Mann said all out efforts must be made to bail out farmers from this situation for which the Union government must step in, according to an official statement.The chief minister underscored the need for making MSP on crops a legal guarantee and said it is the need of the hour so that interests of farmers can be safeguarded.Mann said MSP must be remunerative as the input cost of agriculture have enhanced manifolds and farmers are not getting the right price of their harvest, the statement said.Outrightly rejecting the committee on MSP constituted by the government, the chief minister demanded that it should be reconstituted with "real farmers" as its members.He said the committee is dominated by those arm chair economists who don"t have any knowledge about agriculture. Mann said experts of agriculture along with all the stakeholders must be made members of this committee, the statement said.Expressing concern over the import of pulses at exorbitant prices, the chief minister said this drain of the country"s wealth needs to be checked and Punjab can play an important role in it.He said the farmers of the state are ready to make the country self-relevant in production of pulses.  However, Mann said the Union government must announce MSP for pulses and an assured marketing system for it, the statement said.The chief minister said diversification of crops is urgently needed to take farmers out of the rut of wheat/ paddy cycle on one hand and to save the depleting ground water level on the other.Noting that of the total 150 blocks, water level in 117 blocks is in the dark zone, Mann sought the Centre"s support to check water level by introducing MSP on alternative crops too.The chief minister also apprised the Niti Aayog that the state government is making strenuous efforts to revamp education structure in the state. Presently, the education system is in shambles in the state due to which a lot of work needs to be done, he said.Mann said the top most priority of his government is to ensure quality and accessible education to students especially the girls, according to the statement.Making a solid case for promotion of the food processing industry in Punjab, Mann said it has a huge potential which needs to be tapped.He said the Union government must generously allot funds to the state for promotion of the food processing industry.The chief minister also demanded special allocation of funds for rejuvenation of canal system in the state, saying it is need of hour to strengthen and repair the existing system.Mann said the canals constructed during both pre and post independence era needs to be strengthened and upgraded for which the Centre must allocate special package to the state.Mann also sought immediate release of funds for the higher education sector in the state.Training his guns against former chief ministers of the state, Mann said none of his predecessors bothered to attend this meeting in the last three years resulting in a colossus loss of the state.Mann said none of them came to attend the meeting and just wrote letters which were of no use.He said that these leaders remained confined in their own palaces and ignored the interests of the state.   "However, today I have duly used this platform for raising the issues being faced by the state and I am hopeful that the Government of India will pay heed towards resolving them", the statement quoting him said. PTI SKC TDS TDS TDS

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