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'Stagnation in agricutlure led to decline in per capita income'

Written by: Staff
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Chandigarh, Mar 17 (UNI) The Punjab government today said that the state's decline in terms of per capita income from number one to fifth position in the country was mainly due to the recession in the agriculture growth.

''The growth in agriculture had declined and remained as low as less than two per cent and this is the main reason that why we (Punjab) have come to number five position in the country,'' Punjab Finance Minister Surinder Singla stated in the state assembly in response to a question.

He said the neighbouring state of Haryana was ahead of punjab in terms of per capita income mainly due to that state's proximity to the national capital. The areas of Haryana adjacent to Delhi were fastly growing in industrial and township sectors, the minister said.

As per the figures presented in the house, the state was number three in terms of per capita income in 2000-01 and 2001-02, while it came to the fourth position in 2002-03 and fifth in 2003-04.

The state's per capita income, at constant prices (base 1993-94), remained Rs 15,071 in 2000-01, Rs 15,308 in 2001-02, Rs 15,407 in 2002-03, Rs 16,119 in 2003-04 and Rs 16,756 in 2004-05.

Besides agriculture, Mr Singla said, the recession in industry was the second reason for the decline in the state's per capita income. ''While the states like Maharashtra and Gujarat are growing due to the mushrooming of industry there, Punjab had suffered recession (in industry) which mainly began past terrorism in the state,'' Mr Singla said.

The minister said he had convened a ''high level meeting'' next month to study and revise the statistical figures in terms of the state's in economic, financial and agricultural scenario.

Replying to a question by Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MLA Tota Singh to clarify whether the stagnation in the state's agriculture was due to the increase in the prices of inputs against the ''negligible hike'' in the minimum support prices (MSP) for paddy and wheat, the two main crops of the state.

Mr Singla, said the state government was''worried'' about the farmers.

BJP's Tikshan Sood stated that the state government should also explain the impact of the migratory population, mainly labour, on the state's per capita income. The minister, however, said that the migration had nothing to do with the decline in the Punjab's per capita income.

UNI PS CS BST1405

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