Badal calls for bridging agri input-output costs

 
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Chandigarh, Apr 18 (UNI) Calling for an integrated and holistic approach to address the agrarian crisis, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today warned that unless the frightening input-output dichotomy was removed, India would soon turn into a biggest importer of food grains.

''We are fast heading towards a situation where the un-remunerative nature of agriculture is driving farmers away from farming and if this trend continues, India may have to rely almost entirely on import of foodgrains,'' Mr Badal said while addressing the second meeting of NDC Sub-Committee on agriculture and related issues at New Delhi today.

Taking part in the deliberations, Mr Badal strongly pleaded the case to make agriculture a profitable enterprise as the ever widening gap between the cost of agricultural inputs and MSP had put the peasantry in quandary. He said the policies of the Centre for the fixation of the prices of agricultural inputs such as diesel, fertilizers, pesticides coupled with the non-remunerative MSP were resulting in wide spread distress and disillusionment amongst the farmers.

The farm indebtedness was constantly mounting and farmers were committing suicide day in and day out, he said. He cited a study based on survey conducted by Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, that claimed 82 per cent of the farmers were in the debt trap.

He was of the view point that liberal devolution of funds or resources to the states could improve the investment in the agricultural sector. He asked the Union Government to evolve an action oriented policy with emphasis to improve the poor economic lot of the farmers.

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