Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Thursday asked the Centre to start the process to review the criteria for fixing farm prices to ensure that agriculture remained a remunerative profession and farmers got their due.
Commenting on the hike of Rs 50 per quintal for paddy announced by the center last evening, Badal, said that MSP must measure hike witnessed in the cost of farm produce.
He advocated the implementation of the recommendations of renowned farm economist Dr MS Swaminathan on fixation of MSP of farm produce, which favours 50% profit over the total cost of production incurred by the farmer for any crop.
Badal said that remunerative prices for farm produce were the only way to ensure food security. "Farmer should get his due for hard work, the poor should to be compensated through subsidized food," said Badal.
"The constraints imposed on the present union government by the poor fiscal legacy it has inherited from the UPA government had resulted in poor state of national finances. Drastic steps are needed to revamp the economy and there need to evolve fiscal strategies to align the prices of food grains in general and the MSP of paddy and wheat in particular with market realities," he said.
Pushing blame on UPA government, CM said the prices of costs of farm inputs like diesel, pesticides, agri-machinery, implements, fertilizers and seeds were allowed to rise unchecked and were forced to sell their produce on un-remunerative prices. He demanded that MSP be linked to cost of inputs plus profit.
"We will have to re-prioritize fiscal planning to accord the highest importance to agriculture, as not only was this the backbone of the national economy but between 60% to 70% of country's population was still engaged in it.
He said that the crisis in agriculture was evident from the fact that while the share of agriculture in the overall GDP of the country was declining, the number of people dependent on agriculture still remained as high as before.