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Odisha to move Centre for implementation of Swaminathan recommendations on MSP

Bhubaneswar: Amidst the nationwide farmers protests against the central farm laws, Odisha government on Tuesday decided to move the Centre demanding implementation of the M S Swaminathan Committee recommendations regarding minimum support price for all crops.

The decision in this regard was taken at the cabinet meeting here under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

The state cabinet resolved to move the union government reiterating its earlier stand requesting to implement the recommendations of the MS Swaminathan Committee regarding MSP of all crops, for doubling the farmers income, in the interest of farmers, Parliamentary Affairs Minister B K Arukha and chief secretary S C Mohapatra told reporters.

Stating that the Odisha government has been working towards development of farmers and is committed to the doubling of farmers income, Arukha said all the government policies and programmes including the new agriculture policy, 2020 (Samrudhi) are aimed at achieving rapid agricultural growth through improved profitability, inclusivity and sustainability.

He said, the state government considers MSP as an important tool for income generation of farmers.

The income of farmers needs to keep pace with the growth of income in other sectors and the rise in the cost of cultivation. The MSP of any agricultural produce has to be fixed in a holistic manner so as to make farming operations profitable and to safeguard the farmers against all types of risks, Arukha said.

The Odisha assembly had passed unanimous resolutions in this regard in 2017 and 2018, the parliamentary affairs minister said.

He said Swaminathan had chaired the National Commission on Farmers and had recommended that MSP should be at least 50 per cent more than the weighted average cost of cultivation.

The state cabinet also decided to write off tax cases up to Rs 5000 under various Acts except for six goods – petrol, diesel, ATF (aviation turbine fuel), natural gas, petroleum crude oil and liquor for human consumption.

TArukha said he Cabinet also approved a proposal to implement Rejuvenating Watersheds for Agricultural Resilience through Innovative Development (REWARD) project. It envisages an expenditure of Rs 500 crore on science-based watershed management for six years starting from April, 2021.

Out of this, the World Bank will provide a loan assistance amounting to Rs 350 crore.

This would have a greater probability of generating higher yields, gross revenue, and net income.

In a bid to give special focus to the handicraft sector and considering the similarities with the handloom sector, the former has been separated from the industries department and merged with handlooms, textiles and handicrafts department, the minister said.

This apart, the cabinet approved amendment of the Odisha Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, 2005.

It will enable the government to meet higher resources requirements for COVID-19 management, maintain the standards of service delivery to the public, compensate the shortfall arising out of GST implementation (GST Compensation Shortfall), and maintain the level of capital expenditure on infrastructure projects in the State, he added.

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