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Farmersí issues to get top priority: PM
Amarinder meets Manmohan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 30
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today assured Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh that the plight of farmers would receive top priority from the Centre and asked the state government to submit its proposals at the earliest.

"The Prime Minister assured the Chief Minister that the farmers' issues would receive top priority and the proposals of the state government in this regard would be cleared soon," a Punjab Government statement said here.

Punjab Chief Minister urged Manmohan Singh to resolve the problems faced by the farmers of the state like indebtedness and real term increase in the 
remunerative prices for their produce.

Farmers should be paid remunerative MSP of wheat to obviate increase in the cost of inputs, he told Prime Minister.

The state Chief Minister also sought early rehabilitation measures for the state cooperative financing institutions to ensure the availability of cheap and easy credit facilities.

Mr Amarinder Singh expressed the need for a finding a long-term solution to farmers' indebtedness in consultation with the commercial banks and the Reserve Bank of India.

The Chief Minister requested for an early approval of the proposals to establish an international airport at Halwara and a National Defence University at Patiala.

Acceding to the request of Amarinder Singh, the Prime Minister agreed to visit Punjab in November.

His last visit to the state had raised the hopes of the farmers in the state. However, it left them disappointed as Prime Minister did not announce relief to the indebted farmers.

Later, Amarinder Singh chaired a meeting of a sub-group on Agriculture Reforms constituted by the National Development Council.

Leading experts in agriculture, agri-business, agro-processing attended the meeting along with officials of the state government, Planning Commission, Ministry of Agriculture, and Ministry of Food Processing.

At the meeting, the Chief Minister stressed on value addition to agriculture crops and greater investment in agro-processing. He also said no uniform agricultural development framework should be imposed on the state.

Instead, the state should be given freedom to design its own intervention to achieve higher rate of growth in agriculture. The agricultural experts presented three different reports in the meeting, namely, agriculture marketing reforms, agro-processing and contract farming.

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