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Parkash Singh Badal hails Union Budget as farmer friendly

Parkash Singh Badal hails Union Budget as farmer friendly

Chandigarh, Feb 1 (PTI) Former Punjab Chief Minister and Shiromani Akali Dal leader Parkash Singh Badal today praised the Budget proposals "as farmer friendly andpeople-oriented."

He said linking of the minimum support prices with the cost of production, emphasis on agriculture exports, increased outlay for food processing industry and focus on rural economy are the most welcome features of this Budget.

Badal congratulatedPrimeMinister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for introducing a priority-shift in government investment towards agriculture, especially the commitment to ensure MSPs for the upcoming Kharif crops like paddy at least 50 per cent higher than the cost of production.

The proposal to increase support prices came as an encouragement to farmers and as an effort to take agriculture out of stress. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also proposed to raise farm credit target for the next fiscal by 10 per cent to Rs 11 lakh crore.

"This is the first concrete step towards...implmenting the Swaminathan Commission recommendation of ensuring a 100 per cent profit on farmers cost on production," Badal said.

"The Budget carries the stamp of Jaitleys concern for farmers in general and for Punjab farmers in particular," he added.

According to a statement issued here, Badal said: "For the first time since 1947, the Indian government has institutionalised its commitment to the growth of agriculture and farmers welfare into a budgetary promise."

The five-time former Punjab chief minister said that the clausefor fixing MSPsin consultation with states, especially the predominantly agricultural states, is a huge step forward.

Badal also hailed the focus on liberalising exports of agriculture products.

The 100 per cent increase in outlay for the food processing industry would prove to be a boon for farmers in general and for Punjab farmers in particular, he said. PTI VSD ABH