Punjab & Region

CM Amarinder opposes Centre’s Agri reforms, terms ordinance as attack on nation’s federal structure

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The Fact News Service

Chandigarh, June 5

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has opposed the reforms announced by the Government of India for the agriculture sector and said that these were another brazen attempt to erode and destabilize the country’s federal structure.

He warned that it could pave the way for disbanding the MSP regime as well as the food grain procurement regime, triggering unrest among the state’s farmers.

The Chief Minister said that Punjab would fight any steps on the part of the Government of India to weaken the federal structure of the country through such direct and detrimental interference in the well-established agriculture produce marketing system of the state.

Such a measure, he warned, shall adversely impact the food security of the nation, which Punjab’s hard-working and selfless farmers have sustained ever since the green revolution.

Captain Amarinder said that under the constitutional framework, agriculture is a state subject, and the union government has no powers to make any legislation to deal with the dynamics of agricultural production, marketing, and processing. These are state matters, which individual states are best placed to handle and manage, he said, describing the “Farming Produce, Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020” as a highly ill-conceived move on the part of the central government.

Asserting that the move would damage Punjab, the Chief Minister said during a video press conference that the Centre’s habit of taking sudden decisions and forcing them on states, without taking their views into account, was violative of the very federal framework of the state.

In a statement, the Chief Minister further said that such actions of the Union Government during the Covid pandemic crisis can have serious economic, social, and law and order consequences. The farmers will not gain but will actually suffer at the hands of traders due to the legislative change, he said.

Terming the legislation as a cruel joke on the farming community, the Chief Minister said that far from ushering in an era of much-needed reforms in agriculture, the announcements are in fact a clear and concerted design to undermine the systems and processes that are holding the sector together.

At present, the entire trade of agriculture produce is carried out within the notified markets through a system licensed under “The Punjab Agricultural Produce Markets Act, 1961 (APMC Act),” which allows farmers to bring their produce to the Mandis, where buying and selling of the produce is conducted in a transparent manner and payment to the farmers is ensured, the Chief Minister pointed out.

Further, he said, the state government has already made necessary amendments to the Punjab APMC Act to provide for setting up of regulated Mandis even in the private sector for specific produces.

As such, there is no further need for a central law to interfere with already the existing well established marketing system in Punjab, asserted Captain Amarinder Singh.

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