New Delhi: Suggesting an amendment to the procedure of allocating grants to the states, Punjab government has stressed that states contributing more grains to the Central Pool should be given priority in Central aid.

Addressing the National Development Council meeting on Saturday, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said, “Punjab contributes 45 percent wheat and 25 percent rice to the Central Pool. Consequently, it should be made criteria for states’ share in the central taxes.”

Apart from seeking assistance from the Centre in improving agricultural productivity in the state, he also demanded waiver of the Rs 35,000 crore agricultural loan.

Badal said, “The productivity has become stagnant in the state. The high productivity over the last few decades has taken a toll on the fertility of the soil, while the ground water level continues to go down.”

“The debt of the small and landless farmers and agricultural labourers should be incorporated in this scheme. The Punjab farmers had not much benefitted from the loan waiver granted by the UPA-I just before the 15th Lok Sabha polls,” added Badal.

Expressing concerns over the declining state’s share in the Central taxes, Badal has sought special package for Punjab during the 12th FY Plan.

Punjab CM said the agricultural pattern with major focus on wheat and rice has become redundant. The agriculture now needs diversification, but MSP for a limited number of crops is hindering it, he said.

Questioning the price determining process of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices, SAD leader sought amendment into the procedure.

JPN/Bureau