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Production cost plus 50% as MSP can solve agrarian crisis: Nitish Kumar

LiveMint logoLiveMint 12-06-2017 PTI

Patna: Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said loan waivers are not the only solution to the “agrarian crisis” affecting several parts of the country. He said the NDA government should fulfil its poll promise and give production cost plus 50% as minimum support price (MSP) to farmers.

“Major parts of the country are facing agrarian crisis today... It is ironical that both production and productivity of farm sector have increased, but farmers are in distress as they are not getting a fair price for their produce as their input cost is increasing. This is the real problem,” Kumar said. “Loan waiver is an aspect, but it alone cannot be the only way to resolve the agrarian crisis or lessen the problems of farmers,” he said in reply to a question on whether his government too proposed to waive off farmers’ debt or interest on the lines of Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.

“The centre should consider announcing production cost plus 50% as MSP in order to resolve the agrarian crisis,” Kumar said, alluding to the poll promise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP ahead of the 2014 general elections. “During the Lok Sabha polls of 2014, Modi, the then-prime ministerial candidate of BJP as well as his party had in a manifesto promised to give production cost plus 50% as MSP to farmers. The promise should be fulfilled. I have been raising the issue time and again as I am of the opinion that the measure can resolve the existing crisis in agriculture sector,” Kumar said.

The centre should also formulate a national policy to deal with the issue of farmers’ income and their children’s education and health, he said, adding that merely re-christening the union agriculture ministry will not serve the purpose. On the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), Kumar said insurance companies are benefiting from the scheme more than the farmers.

“The scheme is not meant for farmers, but for insurance companies as they stand to get maximum benefit out of it,” the Bihar chief minister said. He also said details of how compensation paid by insurance companies to farmers against the premium paid by the centre and the state should also be made public.

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