BJP ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today questioned the government data relating to cost of production and the minimum support prices of various food articles, including wheat and mustard. Participating in the debate on the Finance Bill in Rajya Sabha, Naresh Gujral (SAD) said during a question asked in the House a few days ago, a minister had said the cost of production of wheat was Rs 797 and MSP Rs 1,625, for gram it was Rs 2,241 and MSP was Rs 4,000 and for mustard, it was 1,871 and MSP stood at Rs 3,700.
“Sir, if these figures are to be correct, then there would be no farmers suicide. I am certain that this is wrong and if this is right, then why don’t you follow the Swaminathan formula which you have already committed,” Gujral said.
He asked the government to “please take care of farmer and till such time that you can implement the Swaminathan formulan for god’s sake raise the MSP by at least 2 per cent higher than the inflation rate. Our farmers must get some relief from you”.Gujral also asked the government to look into the amendments in the Finance Bill which gave more powers to income tax department and its officers.
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“I wish to draw the attention of the Finance Minister towards few suggestions which are bothering me also as some of the other members in the House,” Gujral said.
Amendments to Section 132 and 132 A which state that reason to believe or reason to suspect will not be disclosed with any authority are a reson for concern, he added.
“As this government has been a hallmark of transparency and accoutability so I am bit perplaxed as why they are bringing something which will in fact empower the junior officers of the the income tax and disimpower the seniour officers who sit in the tribunal,” Gujral said.
He said that Punjab is saddled with Rs 31,000 crore debt by the Centre for procurement of wheat and asked for the appointment of an arbitrator to look into the claims of both centre and state.
“I am not saying write it off, at least appoint an arbitrator to look into claims..although we are not in power in the state but it is unfair that the new government to bear the brunt of this debt of Rs 31,000 crore,” Gujral said.
Commenting on the textile policy which also covers leather goods, he said the government should look at creating fresh jobs through the initiative.