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Punjab CM Amarinder Singh Calls All-party Meet on 'Anti-Farmer' Ordinances Issued by Centre

File photo of Punjab Chief  Minister Amarinder Singh.

File photo of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

During his 'AskCaptain' Facebook Live programme, the chief minister called for an urgent review of the "anti-farmer" ordinances issued by the central government.

  • PTI
  • Last Updated: June 20, 2020, 10:15 PM IST
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Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday said he has convened an all-party meeting on June 24 to evolve a consensus on the central government's agriculture-related ordinances.

Singh said they were "totally unacceptable" to the state as they were "against the farmers' interests" and could spell the end of the minimum support price (MSP) regime.

Describing the ordinances as a "precursor to the end of the MSP regime", which the government of India was "clearly aiming to do", the chief minister said that based on the meeting consensus, a letter would be sent to the central government demanding immediate rollback of the ordinances.

During his 'AskCaptain' Facebook Live programme, the chief minister called for an urgent review of the "anti-farmer" ordinances issued by the central government.

He expressed the confidence that all parties of Punjab were one in the rejection of these ordinances, which could not only "pave the way for ending the MSP support to farmers but also render the Mandi Boards ineffective".

The chief minister said the union government's move to end the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) monopoly through an ordinance, will result in huge losses to the Mandi Board, which currently earns Rs 3,500 crore to 3,600 crore annually in the form of market fee and rural development fund (RDF).

He said, "Any decline in these collections would adversely affect development in rural areas as this money is spent by the board for improvement of roads, link roads and other infrastructure projects, aimed at improving the lives of Punjab's farmers."

Informing about the all-party meeting, Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar earlier said, "Views of all the parties will be taken to arrive at the consensus that these ordinances were against the interest of the farming community and we should approach the Centre and the prime minister over this issue".

He said farming communities were up against this 'Kala Kanoon' (black law) and they have vehemently opposed these ordinances.

"Under these laws, the efforts are being made to hand over the rights of farmers to the multinationals and big corporates," he alleged and expressed fear that the Narendra Modi government had decided to "disband" the MSP mechanism with these ordinances under a "planned move."

The Centre recently passed three ordinances -- the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance.

The Centre had said these would transform the farm sector and help raise farmers' income.

However, the Congress government in Punjab had said these ordinances were completely against farmers and would badly hit the agrarian state.

The chief minister has already appealed to Prime Minister Modi to review three ordinances and also warned that it could pave the way for "disbanding the MSP regime" as well as the foodgrain procurement regime, "triggering unrest among the state's farmers".

The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion & Facilitation) Ordinance 2020 allows barrier-free trade in agriculture produce outside the notified APMC (Agriculture Produce Marketing Committees) mandis.

Whereas, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance 2020 empowers farmers to engage with processors, aggregators, wholesalers, large retailers and exporters through advanced agreements on pre-agreed prices.

The amendment to the Essential Commodities Act was meant to deregulate food items, including cereals, pulses and onion.

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