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Agriculture report every year

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The government will bring out a report on the state of agriculture every year before the Budget, said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday.

Addressing a delegation of farmer leaders, the Prime Minister said he would convene a joint meeting with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar after the Budget session to discuss issues relating to farmers.

Reiterating the government’s deep concern for farmers’ welfare, he said “farmers interests were paramount and would be fully protected at all times”.

The government had substantially enhanced the minimum support prices over the past 5-6 years and will continue to strive to protect farmers’ interests through the MSP mechanism, he said.

Regarding land acquisition, he said a separate meeting would be held with the ministry of Rural Development and farmers’ organisations.

The delegation raised a number of issues, including remunerative prices for farm produce, amendment to the Land Acquisition Act, loans, other than crop loans, at four per cent interest and effective implementation of the MSP.

Health insurance for farmers, ensuring farmers’ interests while framing the Seed Bill, separate budget for agriculture along the lines of railways budget, due consideration of sensitivities about GM crops and protecting the interests of Indian farmers while engaging with WTO were other issues raised by the delegation.


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