Batting for the peasantry, the Punjab Chief Minister also asked the Centre to immediately introduce life and crop insurance scheme for the farm labour and the farmers. (Agencies)
In his keynote address during the inaugural day of Punjab Agriculture summit, Badal said that the core sector of agriculture has been ‘blatantly ignored’ by the Centre, thereby disenchanting majority of farmers across the country.
He alleged that due to ‘apathetic attitude’ of the Centre towards peasantry, over one lakh farmers have left farming and joined other vocations during last one decade in Punjab alone.
"Union Government must come out with pro-farmer policies to motivate them otherwise this discriminatory approach could endanger the country's food security besides creating a major law and order problem and even anarchy," Badal said.
Highlighting the importance of agriculture summit, the Punjab Chief Minister said that it is a non-political event with a focus on the crisis engulfing the peasantry and farm labour in the country today and to find viable solution for it.
Badal said that India is predominantly an agricultural country with nearly 70 percent of the population directly or indirectly dependent on agriculture for livelihood.
"There was a time when India faced an alarming food crisis and millions of people faced starvation everyday at that time, India had to depend heavily for food on foreign aid," he said.
He felicitated the hard-working and resilient farmers especially from Punjab, who took up the daunting challenge and turned India from food deficit to food surplus country.
Badal also advocated that the existing norms of Calamity Relief Fund should also be amended to provide full compensation for the loss of all crops including horticulture as well as live stock.
Similarly, to boost the diversification of agriculture and encourage the farmers for allied farming activities, Badal urged the Centre to exempt live-stock sector from income tax and regard the sector at par with agriculture for this purpose.
Likewise, Badal also demanded that Irrigation Plan must be raised upwards and must include maintenance of the entire system from canals to field channels in the state, because it not only resulted in huge wastage of water but also caused the problem of water logging.
Batting for the peasantry, the Punjab Chief Minister also asked the Centre to immediately introduce life and crop insurance scheme for the farm labour and the farmers.