Vijayawada, Nov 24 (UNI) The Opposition United National Progressive Alliance today demanded that the Centre provided a Minimum Support price of Rs 1,000 a quintal for the paddy crop and implement the M S Swaminathan Committee report for securing the country's food security.
Talking to newspersons after a meeting of the chiefs of UNPA leaders, Telugu Desam Party Chief and former Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu said the UNPA welcomed the decision of the government to hike the MSP for wheat to Rs 1000. However, it should be done for the paddy crop also if the country had to deter farmers from shifting to some other crops.
The MSP should be extended to all other crops including maize, cotton, groundnut, sugarcane, coconut, pulses, jowar, millets and oil seeds.
Mr Naidu said it was dangerous for the country to reduce its agricultural production and allow the demand to be met by imports.
No country would be able to meet the demand for rice for a big population like India, he added.
Demanding the implementation of noted scientist and Rajya Sabha MP Dr Swaminathan's report, Mr Naidu said the nine recommendations dealing with issues like farmers' suicides, agri-production, remunerative prices, insurance cover and subsidies, the revenue of the Union Government-- especially the service tax-- had increased phenomenally over the years. However, the sad thing was that the subsidy portion was reduced, he added.
The parties also appealed to the Centre to write off all farm loans as an one-time to help the farmers, who had committed sucides, to the extent of 100,000 during the UPA regime. ''The bank as well as cooperative loans will have to be waived... the UNPA parties will go to the people as an electoral promise,'' they added.
Mr Naidu said the agricultural scenario in the country was alarming with the agricultural sector having a reduced share in the gross domestic product growth. Its contibution had been reduced to 18 against the 24 per cent whereas majority of the population depended on the contribution.
The insurance cover should be extended to all crops with village as a unit, he said.
Among the chiefs who attended the UNPA meeting were former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala, (INLD) former Jharkhand chief minister Babulal Marandi, and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah.