Hyderabad, Nov 20 (UNI) Offering to lead an all-party delegation to New Delhi, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy today assured the State Assembly that he would impress upon the Centre to hike the Minimum Support Price(MSP) for all crops, including paddy, as recommended by noted farm scientist M S Swaminathan.
Replying to a long debate on the MSP issue, the Chief Minister said he welcomed all parties to join the delegation to collectively pressurise the Centre to hike the MSP for all crops by providing 50 per cent more than the production cost.
Pointing out there was no difference in the MSP for wheat and paddy till 1996, he said the MSP for wheat and paddy was equal at Rs 380 per quintal. The disparity only creeped in during the TDP rule over a period, he charged, adding while the MSP for wheat was Rs 610 per quintal in 2002, the MSP for paddy was Rs 560 per quintal.
While the MSP of Rs 1000 per quintal of wheat would be applicable only from next year, the difference between the MSP for paddy (Rs 775) and wheat this year was only Rs 75, he said.
Accusing the TDP of politicising the peasants problem, he asked, ''why did he(Mr Naidu) come on a tractor to the Assembly. Peasants very well know who is a farmer and who is there to support them.'' He said people had faith in the Congress Government, which was sincere in their upliftment. His government had reduced the cost of cultivation by providing free power to peasants and other inputs at subsidised rates and waived interest on past loans and power tarriff dues.
Referring to seven years of drought during the nine-year TDP rule, he said his Government had God's blessings providing copious rains during his rule.
The position of farmers deteriorated in the past three to four decades and hence, the Congress Government embarked on a massive irrigation initiative to provide assured water to those lands depending on rains, the Chief Minister said.
Amidst an uproar, the House later adopted a resolution, hailing the Centre's efforts to uplift the farmers and requesting it to hike the MSP for paddy by providing 50 per cent more than the cost of production as recommended by Mr Swaminathan as the present MSP was unremunerative.