Punjab's ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Friday outrightly rejected the Rs 170 per quintal proposed hike in Minimum Support Price (MSP) of paddy and Rs 800 for cotton. Party president Sukhbir Singh Badal has criticised the Congress-led UPA for "miscalculating" the input cost incurred by farmers for fixing the MSP.
The Union agriculture ministry had recently circulated a cabinet note among various ministries recommending MSP of Rs 1,250 per quintal for common variety paddy and Rs 1,280 per quintal for 'A' grade paddy for 2012-13. The MSP last year (2011-12) for paddy was Rs 1,080 and Rs 1,110, respectively.
Badal sought an MSP of Rs 1,750 per quintal for paddy and Rs 5,000 for cotton.
Sukhbir said that during last six months, there has been 50 to 60% rise in the cost of agricultural inputs, including more than 100% rise in the cost of fertilisers after its decontrol by the Union government.
He said nothing less than 50 per cent hike in last year's MSP or fixation of MSP as per Swaminathan Commission report was acceptable.
He said the Union government itself had admitted that there was 64% rise in the cost of agriculture inputs and that by proposing MSP hike by only 15% was deliberately making farming community poorer by 49% in a single stroke.