Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday termed the meagre MSP hike for paddy as not only grossly inadequate, but also an insult to the farmers who have been fighting for their rightful dues through their anti-farm law agitation for the past six months.
At a time when the farmers continue to put their lives on the line with their prolonged protest on the borders of Delhi, the BJP-led Central government has, instead of putting balm on their wounds, added insult to their injuries with the minimum support price (MSP) announcement, said the Chief Minister.
Amarinder Singh slammed the anti-farmer' government at the Centre for consistently failing to protect the interests of the farmers and for its apathy towards their problems.
The less than 4 per cent hike in MSP for paddy is not enough even to meet the increased input costs, Amarinder Singh pointed out, citing the extraordinary hike in diesel prices and other costs over the past one year.
The increase in MSP for other crops is also quite measly, he added, noting that the small hike in the base price of maize would discourage the farmers from going for the much-needed crop diversification to save the precious and depleting water resource. The Chief Minister noted that the Swaminathan Committee, whose recommendations the Central government has adamantly' refused to accept, had clearly suggested that MSP should be "at least 50 per cent more than the weighted average cost of production".
Far from implementing the recommendations of the committee in the interest of the farmers and for the nation's food security, the BJP-led government had passed the anti-farmer laws that are clearly aimed at destroying India's farmers, the Chief Minister said.
Amarinder Singh also said that it is not enough for the Union Agriculture Minister to say that the doors for talks with the farmers are open.
The government of India should repeal the farm laws and then sit across the table with the farmers to come out with genuine and meaningful reforms in the agriculture sector in the interest of the farming community as well as the nation, the Chief Minister asserted.
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