Rejecting the charges of SAD leadership of discrimination against Punjab in granting central assistance for development and other projects, Union minister of state for planning, science and technology and earth sciences Ashwani Kumar today said the Centre had never adopted double standards on disbursement of its grants for the implementation of its flagship programmes in any state.
Lauding the farming community of Punjab for maintaining India's food security, he stressed upon the need for crop diversification to better agriculture economy in the state.
Interacting with media persons during his first visit to the city after becoming a minister in the UPA-II government at the Centre, the minister exhorted the farmers to shun the practice of crop cycles of wheat and paddy and instead opt for horticulture and floriculture, which are cash crops. This will help them come out of the traditional agricultural practice besides to better their financial status, he added.
He assured that the Centre would provide all assistance to the state for its allround and balanced development, whether in industrial or agricultural sector.
Kumar said Punjab was faced with three major challenges of youth unemployment, scarcity of power and industry. "There is a need to revive small and medium industry in the state which will help put development of the state on the right track,' he said and added that chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had assured that state would become power surplus in the years to come.