Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Sunday espoused the case of food growers by underlining the need for making minimum support price (MSP) a legal guarantee and ensuring foolproof marketing system for alternative crops.
The Chief Minister, while addressing the national Council meeting of NITIO Aayog chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi here, recalled that at the time when country was starving for food, the hard-working and resilient farmers of the state had made country self-reliant in food production.
However, he said as agriculture is no longer a profitable venture so the farmers are facing a serious crisis. “All-out efforts must be made to bail out the farmers from this situation for which the Union government must step in.”
The Chief Minister underscored the need for making MSP on the crops a legal guarantee. He said it is the need of hour so that interests of farmers can be safeguarded.
Likewise, Mann said the MSP must be remunerative as the input cost of agriculture have enhanced manifolds and farmers are not getting right price of their harvest.
Outrightly rejecting the committee on MSP constituted by the Centre, he demanded that it should be reconstituted with “real farmers” as its members.
He said the committee is dominated by those armchair economists who don’t have any knowledge about agriculture, and experts of agriculture, along with all stakeholders, must be made members of this committee.
Expressing concern over the import of pulses in country on exorbitant prices, the Chief Minister said this drain of 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 country self-relevant in production of pulses. The Union government must announce MSP for pulses and assured marketing system for it.
Likewise, the Chief Minister said that diversification of crops is urgently needed to take farmers out of rut of the wheat-paddy cycle on one hand and to save the depleting groundwater level on the other.
The Chief Minister also apprised the Niti Aayog that the state government is making efforts to revamp the education structure in state.