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Pre-Budget meet: Punjab urges Centre to continue with MSP

New Delhi

18-December-2019

 To safeguard the interests of the farmers, Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal on Wednesday urged the Centre to continue the procurement of wheat and paddy at minimum support price (MSP).

He also asked to ensure the procurement of maize and alternate crops to promote crop diversification.

During the pre-budget meeting of Finance Ministers with Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman here, Badal raised the issue of crop residue management, suggesting that the government should make provisions for crop residue management at Rs 100 per quintal over and above the MSP.

"The state has not only been losing to non-receipt of grants for creation of infrastructure from the Centre since infrastructure already exists but is incurring debt repayments for creating the infrastructure from its own resources," said the minister, adding that to incentivize states like Punjab through special assistance for rejuvenating the existing infrastructure.

The Union Finance Minister was requested to formulate a special scheme for the establishment of water treatment plants and rejuvenation of the villages' ponds in the forthcoming General Budget.

Badal said Punjab is a major foodgrains contributor to the national pool.

It contributes approximately 120-125 lakh metric tonne of wheat and 105-110 lakh metric tonne of rice every year.

However, the slow pace of liquidation of foodgrains from the state during last two-three years has resulted in shortage of storage space for new arrivals of crops.

Badal stated that in the first two years of implementation, bi-monthly release of Good and Service Tax (GST) compensation by the Centre to the states had been adversely affecting their ability to meet their committed and regular outflows.

He requested for monthly release of such compensation to enable the state to timely and efficiently plan their expenditures. IANS