PUNJAB CM Parkash Singh Badal raised the issue of farmers suicides with Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley when the latter laid the foundation stone for a new campus of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Amritsar Sunday evening.
This would be the institute’s own campus, the 15th Indian Institute of Management in the country, which has been so far operating from a temporary facility.
The CM told Jaitley that Punjab is a debt-ridden state and urged him to give concessions for setting up of industries, atleast in the border districts of the state. “You have to save farmers. They are in deep crisis,” he said.
Jaitley, for his part, stressed that education and agriculture have to go hand in hand for the country’s development “as has been the case in countries like Japan and South Korea”.
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“During my last visit to the city, I went to a meritorious school in Amritsar with CM Badal. The CM went to a classroom and asked students how many of them wanted to become farmers. Very few hands went up. Most students wanted to become engineers, doctors or lawyers. It is must to educate the children of farmers.”
He added: “Even many cities in India, like Pune, Kanpur and Kota, have developed themselves as education hub. This can be done in Punjab as well. Many national-level education institutes have come to Punjab after the formation of Modi government in Punjab. There should be more stress on education and enough private and government educational institutes should be established so that everybody should have a chance to get quality education.” Jaitley said it is ironical that in a country where 55 per cent people are dependent on farming, agriculture constitutes only 15 per cent to the national income
Speaking before Jaitley, the Punjab CM had asked him to immediately form a committee to solve the problems of farmers. Jaitley, however, didn’t respond to this demand either when he spoke.
Jaitley also highlighted the contribution of Narendra Modi government in bringing reputed institutions like the AIIMs and IIMs to Punjab. Referring to Jaitley’s speech in Bathinda, Badal said, “It is not possible to get children of farmers out of farming without industry. Successive Congress governments in Centre had discriminated against Punjab.”