“It is unfortunate that the Punjab farmer who produces food grains and is the ‘Ann Datta’ and has been feeding the country for the last 70 years, had to undergo mental stress and has often been forced to take the extreme step by committing suicide. One of the first action that this government initiated was to salvage the farmer out of its debt burden. An Expert Committee has already been constituted which is working on the contours of the detailed scheme. However, till such time that I receive a report of this Committee, I am proposing an outlay of `1500 crore for waiving the debts of the distressed farmers in Punjab”, Manpreet Badal.
This Government will lay major emphasis on development of horticulture in the state to encourage diversification and breakaway from the rice-wheat cropping pattern. This will not only help in improving the prosperity of the farmers but would also improve the sustainability of the state’s agriculture.
Agriculture production has almost reached a plateau given the technology in the sector at present; the farmers’ agriculture income can thus be increased, only by providing better marketing facilities to the farmers and reducing the gap between producer and consumer. For this purpose, the Agriculture Produce Marketing Act is being amended to ensure the direct access of the National and International market to the farmer.
The Punjab Farmers Commission is being reconstituted, strengthened and reorganized as a statutory body to provide for farmers rights and frame policy.
The farmer puts in lots of hard work and labour in raising his crop. However, his crop is normally at the risk of vagaries of weather. His fully matured crop gets damaged due to untimely rain, hailstorm or other natural calamities at times. The Government realizes the loss of income to the farmers due to such uncertainties of weather. The Government has therefore decided to increase rate of compensation (Kharaba) from the present level of `8000 to `12000 per acre.
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