Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Friday urged the Centre to get the committee for recommending a Minimum Support Price (MSP) for crops ‘reconstituted’ by giving due representation to the state in view the key role of Punjab in ushering green revolution and making the country food grain surplus.
In separate letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union home minister Amit Shah and Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Mann requested for giving representation to Punjab on the MSP committee.
In the letter, the CM said in the committee regarding MSP, “many experts and senior officers from various states have been included as members but no representation has been given to Punjab, the state in which the MSP mechanism is being implemented most successfully since the initiation of this scheme”.
Mann said Punjab has played a vital role in making the country self-sufficient in food grains by contributing about 35 to 40 per cent of wheat and 25 to 30 per cent of rice to the Central pool during the last about one decade.
“Approximately 60-62 million tonnes of wheat and rice are distributed per annum to about 800 million people of the country at highly subsidized rates under the NFSA, 2013. These welfare programmes for the poor have been made possible due to the contribution of Punjab,” he said in the letters.
“Further, due to the efforts of agricultural experts, farmers and policy planners, the country has become the exporter of rice and wheat. During 202122, out of total global rice exports of about 54 million tonnes, India contributed about 21.5 million tonnes (about 40 per cent). Punjab contributed heavily towards these rice exports as rice is not the staple food of the Punjabis. India also exported about 8 million tonnes of wheat during 2021-22,” he added.
Earlier on Wednesday, Mann slammed the Union government for ignoring the state while constituting the committee for recommending MSP for crops.
The CM said it is a discriminatory move as the farmers of state have been ignored because the BJP- led NDA government does not want to give a platform to farmers of the state to air their views.
“Punjab’s stiff opposition to the draconian farm has unnerved the Modi government. This dictatorial attitude is unacceptable and unwarranted as without Punjabi farmers the committee hardly has any relevance” he said, adding that without the state’s representation the committee will be like a ‘body without soul’.
The CM said without Punjabi representation the committee, with ‘armchair economists’ at helms of affairs, will not be able to do justice with the food growers of the country in general and that of Punjab in particular.