Former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today stressed the need for some “out of box” policy initiatives and some brave decisions to save the “beleaguere peasantry in the country, especially in the food bowl of the country,Punjab.”Mr Badal also spoke about the need for “genuine federal structure in the country with greater economic autonomy and more breathing space for states in determining their development priorities. “I must congratulate the honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and the NDA government for taking some brave decisions in this regard. The process needs to be taken forward.” Speaking at a meeting of the NDA constituents in New Delhi this evening, Mr Badal said that the farmers were “social and economic backbone of the country” . But he said that this back was now in danger of being broken under too much stress which it carried for every other segment of economy. He said that all the growth and progress being made by the country can come to nothing if the farmers of the country continued to face poverty, debt and unfavourable market realities.
”Calling for some major initiatives to make farming a remunerative profession, Mr Badal vehemently advocated the need for a one-time loan waiver for farmers. “ The UPA waived loans of big industrial and business houses in the country, amounting to lakhs of crores in each case. But no one deserves loan waiver more than the farmers do. Their contribution to national economy and to its progress is so big that any help given to farmers actually translates into a boost for every sector of economy because a prosperous farming community means more spending, and more spending means more trade, more production, more taxes and consequently more investments. The best way to kickstart and boost our economy is to give a fillip to the farming sector because he entire spiral effect on the economy begins with it . But this was not realized by planners and policy makers in our country. “
Mr Badal said that in Punjab, the SAD-BJP government had taken some path breaking measures like free power to farmers and that had provided the much needed space for breathing to the peasantry. “Free power to farm sector is not a subsidy but an investment into the most critical economic sector for overall progress. But there is a bias against the farmers in the minds of the academic and intellectual elite. They don’t realize the incredible benefits to the entire economy which can flow from a one-time relief in the form of loan waiver and a favourable farm insurance and assurance policy. “Badal praised the UP chief Minister for his initiative in loan waiver for farmers, and said that this needed to be replicated in other states.The five time Punjab Chief Minister also emphasized the need for extending major tax relief to agriculture allied professions like fisheries, dairying, bee keeping etc. These should be regarded at par with agriculture for income tax calculators and should be exempted from GST too. This will help in the process of crop diversification as
well as agricultural diversification, said Mr Badal.