State govts must implement central schemes to boost agri sector: Badal
The Centre has taken a number of initiatives, including a sharp increase in MSP, for enhancing farmers' income and it is now for the state governments to implement these schemes, Union Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said on Friday.
The minister, who was replying to a query on farmers rally in the national capital, also blamed the Congress party for the farm distress.
Around 35,000 farmers from across the country converged in the national capital Friday to press for their demands, including debt relief and remunerative prices for their produce.
"The plight of the farmers today has not been created in the last four years. They have been created by the party which has been in power in the last 70 years for most of the time...
"Over the last four years the Narendra Modi led-government has taken a number of initiatives to transform this sector," Badal told reporters here on the sidelines of a CII event on food processing sector.
The minister said that one of the big steps was increasing the minimum support price (MSP) of crops.
"The Central government can only provide increased MSP and money, but it is for the state governments to ensure that there is the lifting of grain and implementation," Badal said, referring to the Centre's decision to fix MSP at 1.5 times the cost of production.
It is "extremely unfortunate" that farmers are not receiving the benefits of various schemes announced by the Centre, including crop insurance at a very low premium, higher MSP and a Rs 6,000-crore Sampada Yojana for food processing, she said.
(With inputs from agencies.)