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Badal writes to PM, seeks assured marketing, direct income support for farmers

twitter-logoPTI | January 10, 2019 | Updated 20:53 IST

Chandigarh, Jan 10 (PTI) Former Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal Thursday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking assured marketing of crops and direct income support for farmers to deal with "alarming" agrarian crisis in the country. In a letter to the prime minister, Badal said although loan waivers were necessary as a short-term and emergency help to the farmers, long-term measures needed to be put in place in order to make agriculture remunerative and farmers economically self-reliant. The Akali stalwart sought "immediate, effective policy and executive decisions in order to guarantee the assured marketing of crops along with a broad-based MSP regime and direct income support in the form of production subsidy as priority measures to fight the alarming agrarian crisis in the country". Badal lauded the prime minister for taking "unprecedented and concrete" steps towards the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission formula for making farming a remunerative profession. He demanded from the prime minister to introduce an effective, meaningful and broad-based crop insurance scheme as a bulwark against economic misery being faced by the farmers today. "The scheme should be implemented in the spirit of cooperative federalism where states are responsible for designing the product and its implementation and the Centre providing the resources," he said. He said that one of the best ways to help farmers in the long-run would be to revisit the terms of agricultural financing in favour of easy and productive agricultural financing regime. For this purpose, he said, easy and soft crop loans should be made available to the farmers with maximum interest rate be pegged at three per cent and the agriculture investment credit should be provided at six per cent, with subvention at the rate of four per cent. "A proper marketing infrastructure for all the alternative crops for which the MSP should be announced on the lines of wheat and paddy in Punjab," he said. He said the farmers were always willing and able to shift to any alternative crop or crops which the country might require provided the government puts an assured marketing with remunerative MSP in place, as was done when the country desperately needed the farmer to produce more wheat and crop. Badal, in his letter, also said that budgetary outlay for farm research needs to be significantly enhanced to increase productivity and minimise the risks to farm production. PTI CHS KJ

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