SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
M A I L B A G

MSP increase won’t help small farmers

The decision to raise the minimum support price (MSP) in respect of wheat and paddy is welcome. The government instead of importing wheat at double the price of MSP should pay remunerative price to the native farmer so that he is motivated to produce more and more.

This is the biggest ever increase in MSP. The sowing season will help increase the acreage under wheat and production. The Punjab farmer alone is said to get Rs 5700 crore extra.

In this bargain, however, the gainer continues to be the big farmer. The small farmer has no surplus. The second loser is the poor consumer. The public distribution system has failed to deliver. It is ridden with corruption. The position of stock maintenance is not rosy. Rodents consume about 10 per cent of our stocks. For lack of proper storage facilities, over 20 per cent stock is wasted during transaction and rains. It further enhances the cost for the consumer.

If the social cost of production of wheat and paddy in terms of the fast depleting water table in calculated, it is still profitable to import wheat. It is commercial to produce wheat. In the process, the landless farmers’ water is also used by the big farmers. Consequently, who is the loser? The government should formulate a long term policy in respect of wheat production.

PURAN SINGH, Chandigarh


 

II

The Punjab government questions the Centre’s rationale for fixing a lower MSP for wheat and rice for the farmers as against the price at which these commodities are imported by the government. The farmers find the argument convincing.

However, the argument is flawed and misleading. To neutralise the input costs, the farmers are provided a package of subsidised fertilisers, pesticides, diesel etc. in addition to free canal water for irrigation, free electricity for tube wells which are not available to exporting countries. The prices of imported commodities also include the overseas transportation charges.

The government would happily pay a higher MSP if freebies and subsidies are done away with. Linking MSP with rice index, of course, merits consideration.

Lt-Col BACHITTAR SINGH (retd), Mohali

III

The increase in MSP for wheat to Rs 1,000 a quintal is substantial. However, simultaneously, the Centre has banned the export of non-Basmati varieties of paddy. This has resulted in the fall of prices of these varieties from Rs 200 to Rs 300 a quintal.

There is no doubt that the government gives some relief to farmers by one hand and takes away the same with the other. This is a cruel joke on the farmers. In this era of open market, the government should not interfere. The Manmohan Singh government should allow free trading so that the farmers get remunerative price for their produce.

RAM CHANDER NEHRA, Satrod Khurd

IV

The news-item, Paddy prices crash (Oct 18) exposes the government’s intentions and cut farmers to size. Paddy prices have come down by Rs 200-300 a quintal. The traders will buy paddy at lower rates from the farmers. Later, they grease the palms of the politicians and will get the export ban lifted on rice.

Because of the wrong policies of the government, farmers are under debt. No policy has bee formulated to save them from suicides. NABARD had allocated Rs 2,800 crore for the farmers in 2004-05. In 2005-06, it was reduced to Rs 1,800 crore. National economy depends on agriculture, but the government always ignores farmers while framing policies at the national level.

The MSP increase for wheat and paddy will hit the PDS. The below poverty line (BPL) beneficiaries can be compensated by subsidising the rice price. But the export ban on rice will affect the farmers who are on the verge of leaving their occupation.

NACHHATTAR SINGH MALHAN, Odhan (Sirsa)

 

Corruption in the Army

The common man is surprised over the rampant corruption in the Army. A senior Army officer, Anand Kumar Kapoor, was found to possess assets to the tune of Rs 50 crore during his period of service. This roughly comes to earning Rs 1.5 crore per year or Rs 12.5 lakh a month during his service period.

This shows that many government officials earn money mostly through bribery. In this case, the person in question earned about 3 per cent through salary and 97 per cent by bribe. What a shining example of India Shining! My company constructed Chandigarh War Memorial in Bougainvillea Garden. We worked 24 hours for three weeks, but did not get the construction cost from the government even after 15 months. Let the Defence Minister know that it is not an aberration but some of his officers seem to be corrupt and inefficient.

SURINDER KUMAR GARG, Chandigarh


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