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Union Budget ‘fails’ to address farmers’ distress: Punjab CM Amarinder

Captain Amarinder Singh dismissed the Budget 2018-19 as “non-visionary and anti-farmer”.

punjab Updated: Feb 01, 2018 22:54 IST
Press Trust of India, Chandigarh
Union Budget 2018,Budget news,Budget 2018
Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh(HT File)

Describing the Union Budget a “disappointment”, Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday alleged that it had “failed” to address most of the issues raised by the state at the pre-budget meeting.

The budget, presented by finance minister Arun Jaitley in Parliament, did not have any mention of farm debt waiver, making it clear that the Centre did not recognise the distress of farmers in Punjab, he claimed.

“It also failed to implement the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission,” the chief minister said in a statement.

He dismissed the Budget 2018-19 as “non-visionary and anti-farmer”.

Punjab has implemented loan waiver for farmers despite severe financial constraints, the state had expected something in the budget from the Centre in this regard, he said.

Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal raised doubts over the calculation of the input cost for fixing support prices for Kharif crops.

The central government today said that support prices for the upcoming Kharif crops such as paddy would be fixed at least 50 per cent higher than the cost of production.

Badal also slammed the Centre for reducing the basic excise duty on petroleum products, claiming it would hit the states’ share of revenue disbursed out of this levy.

“The Union Budget has been a disappointment for Punjab,” the minister said, maintaining that his criticism of the budget should not be seen through the “narrow prism of politics”.

Badal also hit out at the Narendra Modi government for not acceding to the demand of states for addressing the farmers’ debt issue.

On the support prices issue, he said, “The budget says that the MSP (minimum support prices) will be at least 50 per cent higher than the cost of production. But how will the cost of production be calculated. I have doubts about it.

“I feel that the Centre will take an all-India average of the input cost and it will be kept low. I am afraid that this announcement will be just another ‘jumla’ (gimmick),” he said.

Farmers have been seeking the implementation of the commission’s report, which had recommended 50 per cent profit over the input cost, the state finance minister said.

Badal also slammed the central government for only stressing on raising farm production rather than taking care of farmers’ welfare.

Punjab Congress chief and Gurdaspur MP Sunil Jakhar termed the Budget as “directionless and anti-poor” and charged the central government with “backstabbing” the beleaguered farmers of the country.

First Published: Feb 01, 2018 22:33 IST