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“Nothing but a Pack of Jumlas”: Punjab CM on Union Government’s Agriculture Reforms

Saumy Deepak Tripathi
Saumy Deepak Tripathi

The reforms announced in the Agriculture sector which were labeled historic by the Union Governments have been called “nothing but a pack of jumlas” by Chief Minister of Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh. The Chief Minister has said that a unilateral decision like this destabilizes the country’s federal structure that is enshrined in the constitution.

The central government has brought out The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion & Facilitation) Ordinance 2020 and The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance 2020 to allow farmers more freedom in selling their produce outside of ANPC mandis. These reforms aim to allow farmers to fetch better prices for their crops by allowing barrier-free interstate and intrastate movement of goods by involving farmers, agribusiness firms, processors, wholesalers, and exporters.

He further said that Agriculture is under the state list in the Constitution and thus, the central government has no right to make any legislation regarding agricultural production. He also said that bringing such changes at a time when the country is in a pandemic will add to the woes of the farmers as it will confuse the supply chain.

He also praised the Punjab Agricultural market model as a good model that had served the sate well in the past 60 years under “The Punjab Agriculture Markets Act,1961” under which farmers bring their crops to the Mandis and sell it in a transparent process. He also pointed out that the State has already made amendments to the Punjab APMC act to sell selected produce in the private sector outside of mandis.

This may come as a blow for the union government as it is already facing problems in the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana as Jharkhand and Telangana became the recent states to exit from the scheme. The reason here was when in February the Central government decreased its share of subsidy from 50% to 25% which put a lot of pressure on the respective state’s exchequer and the fear that the recent reforms would also be put on the state government to execute is a cause of concern for them.

So there is a need for effective dialogue between the union and state governments and to establish a mechanism where sates are brought on board as equal partners so that the scheme may be a success.

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