Include pro-farmer measures in budget: Badal to Jaitley

Tags: Economy
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today said Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley should consider introducing the renowned farm scientist M S Swaminathan's formula for fixation of MSP.

He said the formula that provides for cost plus 50% remuneration to the farmers as the basis of fixation of MSP for agricultural crops should be looked into during the process of finalisation of Union Budget for 2014-15.

In a letter to Jaitley, the Chief Minister impressed upon him to make agriculture far more sustainable besides ensuring no farmer was compelled to either leave this occupation or commit suicide.

He sought the Finance Minister's personal intervention for a slew of pro-farmer measures to be included in the union budget proposals.

The Chief Minister, according to official release here, felt instead of vying for mere crop diversification, greater stress should be given to agriculture diversification.

This would mean that allied activities such as dairying, fisheries and other subsidiary occupations should also be included in the agriculture diversification programme for financial assistance, it said.

Small and marginal farmers should be provided interest free short term crop loans whereas other farmers should be given crop loans at 2%, and agriculture investment credit should be at 6% rate of interest, Badal suggested.

In order to remove debt stress and check acts of suicides by farmers, one time debt relief package should be provided for all farmers, he said.

Like agriculture, dairy, fisheries and other subsidiary activities should also be given exemption from payment of income tax, he said.

Badal also recalled that Punjab has been the cradle of green revolution in the country.

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