The Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today envisioned that the Punjab Kisan Vikas Chamber (PKVC)-Farmers’ advisory body first of its kind in the country would be instrumental in transforming agriculture and allied activities as a profitable venture.Addressing the gathering after inaugurating the PKVC, constructed over two acres of land here in Aero City, the Chief Minister said that this non-political organization would help the sagging agrarian economy to come a stage back as this platform would prove to be a milestone in putting the views of eminent agriculture experts and economists across the state government as well as Government of India in streamlining the policies related to agriculture and allied farming. He said that this farmers’ autonomous body would certainly help in lobbying to get their genuine demands accepted at the Centre’s level through persuasion within the democratic means. Mr. Badal said this Chamber on the pattern of industrial organizations like Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), PHD Chamber of Commerce, Associated Chambers of Commerce of India (ASSOCHAM) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) would provide affirmative say of peasantry in the policies and programs related to agricultural and allied activities.
Mr. Badal hoped that PKVC would go a long way in exercising its affirmative say in the policy intervention to safeguard the interests of peasantry not only in the state but also at the level of Central government especially in getting remunerative Minimum Support Price (MSP) of crops recommended besides favourable fixation of the prices of fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides to ensure farming a profitable venture, which was now passing through severe financial crisis.The Chief Minister further said that constant churning of new ideas and innovative techniques by the experts and farm economists of national as well as international repute during time to time deliberations in the chamber would also help the farmers and others associated with allied sectors like dairying, beekeeping, piggery, fishery, horticulture etc. to improve economic lot with the paradigm shift from ‘sustenance to disposable income’ thereby raising their economic and social status. Mr. Badal also impressed upon the Patron and President of the Chamber to also explore possibilities in the field of food processing to enhance the income of farmers manifold through value addition besides marketing backup support.
The Chief Minister said this was a non-political forum exclusively dedicated to the cause of farming community. He also said that eminent academicians and experts in different fields of Agriculture and allied services have been nominated in this prestigious organization adding Mr. Badal said that this body would surely reach zenith of its glory under stewardship of Chairman Punjab Farmers’ Commission Dr. GS Kalkat as its patron and leading progressive farmer Mr. Kulwant Singh as its President. Mr. Badal said that the state government has spent Rs 20 crore on the magnificent building of this Chamber and Rs 10 crore has been kept as Corpus fund to manage its expenditure.The Chief Minister said it was high time to set up such organization to offer an interactive platform to the farmers so as to enable them to take up their issues at an appropriate level for the quick resolution to their satisfaction. Mr. Badal said that the chamber would engage the services of renowned agriculture experts for seeking their advice on matters related to the agriculture sector. This would help the chamber to contest their claims vigorously with the central and state government in a meaningful and result oriented manner. Likewise, legal advice on certain contentious issues with regard to inter-state marketing and export policies would be sought from legal experts.
Speaking on the function, Patron of PKVC Dr. Kalkat said that this chamber was the brainchild of the Chief Minister who was deeply concerned to resolve the current agrarian crisis and committed for the welfare of the farmers especially the small and marginal ones. He said this initiative of the state government would go a long way in putting our dwindling agriculture economy on strong pedestal. Dr. Kalkat underscored the need for extending subsidies and short term loans to the farmers for encouraging them to adopt crop diversification.Prominent amongst others who were present on the function included Agriculture Minister Mr. Tota Singh, MLA Mr. NK Sharma, Additional Chief Secretary (Development) NS Kalsi, Special Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Mr. Gaggandip Singh Brar, Secretary Mandi Board Mr. TPS Sidhu, Secretary Irrigation Mr. Kahan Singh Pannu, Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Balwinder Singh Sidhu, President of PKVC Mr. Kulwant Singh, Deputy Commissioner Mr. DS Mangat and Senior Superintendent of Police Mr. GS Bhullar.