Chandigarh, July 5: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has termed the Centre's decision to hike the minimum support price for paddy by Rs 200 per quintal, a "cosmetic" measure, which, he alleged, did not address the core concerns of the farmers.
In a statement issued here, he said the increase did not meet the state government's demand for 50 per cent hike over and above C2 (a comprehensive cost, accounting for the rentals and interest forgone on owned land and fixed capital assets over A2 + FL (which covers the actual paid out costs plus an imputed value of unpaid family labour).
The state's demand was in line with the recommendation and subsequent clarification issued by the Swaminathan Commission on the recommended MSP hike, Amarinder Singh said, reiterating his demand for in toto implementation of the panel's report.
The MSP hike announced by the Centre did not meet the expectations of the distressed farming community, nor was it adequate to address the root of the problem as identified by the Swaminathan Commission, he claimed, adding it will only offer marginal relief to the beleaguered farmers, reeling under huge amount of debt.
He alleged that the Centre had also failed to accept the state government's demand for compensation for paddy residue management, which was a critical necessity in view of the pollution problem.
The chief minister pointed out that there was also no move by the Centre to purchase other crops also at MSP to motivate farmers to diversify from the water-guzzling paddy crop.
Failure in doing so would have serious ramifications not only for Punjab but for the entire nation in view of the grave ground water crisis it was facing, Amarinder Singh said.
If the BJP government at the Centre was indeed serious about addressing the problems of the farming community, they would have to go beyond such "half-hearted" attempts and come out with a comprehensive package, including national debt waiver scheme, he said.