Terming the subsidy on power to farmers a 'sheer madness', noted scientist H Deep Saini, vice-president and principal, University of Toronto, said that it was a major factor responsible for depleting water table in Punjab.
Talking on the sidelines of Punjab Science Congress, which commenced here on Friday, at Punjab Technical University (PTU), Saini said that instead of providing subsidy at the 'input stage' to the farmers, the government should focus on giving subsidy at the 'output stage'.
"Giving subsidy to farmers on power usage was leading to bad habits among the farmers in the state and it doesn't make any economic sense. Emphasis should be laid on assisting the farmers to increase their output. Subsidy was bad but it should not affect the environment," he said.
He added that not just depleting water table rather the current agrarian crisis in the state was the result of the subsidy alone.
"Punjab was not designed for rice growth as it uses a lot of water. We don't have control on the level of energy we use. We need crop diversification to bring the water table up. Punjab needs to diversify outside the normal cycle of paddy and wheat. Maize and pulse crops could be adopted for cultivation in the state," he added.
He said that while the suggestion is not the solution as issue of dealing with agriculture ways is to be dealt at the policy-making level.
"Policies don't fail, it is the execution that fails them. We are a failure at execution," he said, adding that there is a need to invest on renewable resources.
Goverdhan Mehta, national research professor, University of Hyderabad, said that crop diversification gives an opportunity to soil to recharge.
"In the era of second green revolution, cultivation of alternative crops is expected to reduce water consumption and help revive water table," headed.
Subsidy on power usage is leading to bad habits among farmers in Punjab and it doesn't make any economic sense. Emphasis should be laid on assisting them to increase their output
H Deep Saini, vice-president and principal, University of Toronto