Chandigarh, June 1 (IANS) Punjab's ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) Friday rejected outright the Rs.170 per quintal proposed hike in Minimum Support Price (MSP) of paddy and Rs.800 for cotton.
Akali Dal President Sukhbir Singh Badal, who is also Punjab deputy chief minister, accused the central government of miscalculating the input cost for agriculture. He said that farmers were reeling under a huge debt but were still giving bumper crops.
Badal sought an MSP of Rs.1,750 per quintal for paddy and Rs.5,000 for cotton immediately.
The Union Agriculture Ministry has recently circulated a cabinet note among various ministries recommending MSP of Rs.1,250 per quintal for common variety paddy and Rs.1,280 per quintal for 'A' grade variety of paddy for 2012-13. The MSP last year (2011-12) for paddy was Rs.1,080 and Rs.1,110, respectively.
Badal said that in the last six months, there has been a 50-60 percent rise in the cost of agricultural inputs including an over 100 percent rise in the cost of fertilizers after its de-control by the union government.
Badal said that nothing less than a 50 percent hike in last year's MSP or a fixation of MSP as per the Swaminathan Commission report was acceptable.
"The union government itself had admitted that there was 64 percent rise in the cost of agriculture inputs on one hand and by proposing MSP hike by only 15 percent, it is deliberately making farming community poorer by 49 percent in a single stroke," Badal said in a statement here.
He accused the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government as being anti-farmer. He said the central government was playing into the hands of the multi-national companies by sleeping over the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission which has recommended that MSP be linked to the wholesale price index.