Chandigarh, June 12 (UNI) Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today described the Centre's ad-hoc decision on the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of paddy for the current season as ''unprecedented, illogical and completely divorced from the economic realities being faced by the farmers at the ground level in the country''.
'' It is the UPA government's cruelest parting gift to the beleaguered peasantry and the surest proof that the policy makers in the present regime work from air-conditioned rooms and have no clue about the problems of our countrymen'', Mr Badal said in a statement here this evening while commenting on the recommendations of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) decision on the paddy price.
The Chief Minister said that the Union Government was rubbing salt on the wounds of the farmers by withholding a significant raise in the paddy MSP even after the rate of inflation in the country was beginning to cross nine per cent. He called upon Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to immediately to correct this distortion by announcing an additional hike of Rs 250 to Rs 350 per quintal.
Mr Badal was reacting to the views of the Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram after the CCEA meeting rejecting the recommendations of Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP). The CACP had recommended raising of the paddy MSP to Rs 1000 per quintal for the common variety and Rs 1050 for Grade 'A' variety.
The CCEA at its meeting in Delhi today had recommended an MSP at Rs 850 and Rs 875 per quintal for the two varieties respectively.
Mr Badal said that there had been a steep hike in the prices of essential commodities in the country. This included the prices of fertilizers and other agricultural inputs.
He said that the case for a substantial raise in the paddy MSP had become extremely strong, justified and beyond dispute after the Union Government after the hike in the prices of petrol and diesel.
The Chief Minister said that there was no justification for resorting to ad-hocism when the paddy sowing operations had already begun.
Mr Badal said that there was no substance in Mr Chidambaram's argument that there was a wide divergence of views among different states on the subject. On the contrary, a vast majority of paddy producing states had demanded an MSP well above Rs 1000 per quintal for the common variety and substantially higher for the Grade 'A' variety.
He said that only state's like Himachal Pradesh which did not figure among the major contributors to the national food kitty may have suggested a lower MSP.
Mr Badal reiterated his party's demand for linking MSP of agricultural products to the overall price index or implement Dr M S Swaminathan's formula for giving the farmers 50 per cent profit plus the actual cost of production.
UNI HS JMK LS AS2022