Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Monday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to implement the Swaminathan formula for determining the minimum support price (MSP) of crops.
Badal called upon the Prime Minister at his residence in New Delhi.
A spokesperson of the CM office said Badal pleaded for the MSP to be fixed according to the guidelines recommended by agriculture economist Dr MS Swaminathan, allowing the farmers to get the MSP which should cover production costs plus 50% as profit so as to bail out the distressed peasantry from the agrarian crisis.
Badal also demanded that the Food Corporation of India (FCI) should procure maize and sunflower on the pattern of wheat and paddy at the MSP to give boost to agriculture diversification. He impressed upon Modi that the states should be allowed to implement an agriculture diversification programme realising the ground realities and local needs.
He also requested Modi to strengthen the programme by covering allied and subsidiary occupations such as dairy, fisheries, piggery, fruit and vegetable cultivation and processing and bee-keeping.
The CM also demanded that animal husbandry and allied agriculture activities be treated on par with agriculture for exemption of income tax, loans on easier interest rates and exemption from the customs duty on the import of machinery for dairy farming and livestock-rearing.
Asking Modi to restore refinance by National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) to cooperative banks, which has now been reduced from Rs 6,300 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 4,600 crore during the current fiscal, the chief minister requested him to immediately enhance the refinance to Rs 7,000 crore.
Badal also demands
Badal demanded industrial concessions to Punjab on the lines of those already extended to the neighbouring states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. He informed the Prime Minister that the industry in the state was passing through severe crisis which led to a mass exodus and flight of investment from Punjab.
Clear irrigation projects
Badal demanded that the PM issue directions to the Union ministry of water resources for early clearance of various irrigation projects worth Rs 4,418 crore stuck at different stages -- extension, renovation and modernisation of the canal fed by the Sutlej, rehabilitation of the UBDC system and re-lining of the Rajasthan and Sirhind feeders.
Seeks loan reimbursements
Badal sought loan reimbursements of Rs 2,694 crore already paid out of the special term loan of Rs 5,800 crore advanced to Punjab for combating insurgency during the period of militancy from 1980-95 prior to the loan waiver by the Centre. The CM requested Modi to immediately announce a special grant of Rs 2,694 crore in lieu of its repayment.
Waiver of expenditure on paramilitary forces
Badal demanded waiver of expenditure amounting to Rs 298 crore incurred on the paramilitary forces during militancy as Punjab fought the nation's war to defend its integrity and sovereignty.
Make airport operational
He also demanded that the Centre immediately start the operation of international flights besides inaugurating the international airport at SAS Nagar.
Modernisation of police
Badal also wanted the formulation of a special scheme or the announcement of a one-time grant to modernise the state police as it was of utmost importance to counter cross-border terrorism and insurgency, especially in wake of the recent challenge posed by some anti-national forces from across the border. He said the ministry of home affairs had discontinued the scheme for modernisation of the state police force from the fiscal 2015-16.