Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal on Friday called upon farmers of the state to skip one meal for educating their wards. Speaking at the inaugural session of the 50th Kisan Mela of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) here, he said, farmers should rather forego a meal than not send their children to school.
“Education will open floodgates of opportunities for your children in diverse fields apart from agriculture,” he said, adding, “farmers must skip one meal to educate their wards”. The real development, he said, is not in terms of silver roads and golden walls, but in income enhancement, and a happy and respectable life. “The day you progress, you need not tell it to anyone, the hearts in your homes will speak of it,” he said. “Punjab may progress, but if its farmers are not happy, then the state can never be happy,” he observed.
The state has made substantial contribution to agriculture in 70 years, he said and suggested that the farmers need to shift from the paddy-wheat cycle to alternative crops. Stating that “the government is parents to its people”, he said that the Punjab government has decided to give Rs 2 lakh as debt relief to small and marginal farmers. He said that for the first time in 70 years, the agriculture policy is going to be framed by Punjab State Farmers’ Commission. “I have written to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley requesting him to rename Food Policy as Nutrition Policy,” he added.