Farmers Wanted Their Due, Not Charity: Punjab CM on MSP Hike

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday rejected the MSP hike announced by the Centre for paddy, saying farmers 'wanted their due, not charity'.

Urging the Centre to immediately review the decision and come out with a comprehensive package, the chief minister said the Union government 'failed' to address the extreme distress faced by the farmers even amid the coronavirus crisis.

The debt-ridden and stressed farming community was looking to the Centre to come to their rescue in these times of unprecedented woes, but the much-needed support once again eluded them, said the CM in a press release.

The chief minister said the Centre on Monday announced a minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 1,868, a hike of Rs 53 per quintal for paddy, as against the demand of Rs 2,902 per quintal raised by him in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month.

"What they (farmers) wanted in exchange was not charity but their due, but the BJP-led government at the Centre continued to ignore their justified demands and needs," said the CM, describing the hike as 'inadequate'.

The CM said far from compensating the farmers for the increased cost of production, particularly the hike in the labour cost, the hike was not sufficient to compensate them for the crops losses suffered due to the untimely rains in March and April.

The central government had not come out with any special package for the farmers, nor had it accepted the state's demand for incentives for staggered wheat procurement or the Rs 100 per quintal bonus for paddy straw management, the CM pointed out.

The CM said notwithstanding the immense hardships faced by them on account of the coronavirus pandemic, Punjab's farmers had ensured successful completion of a mega rabi harvesting and procurement operations to once again provide the nation the much-needed food security amid this unprecedented crisis.