Agri ordinances not violative of federal structure: Centre
There is no need for anyone to fall prey to the illusions over MSP. Purchase of crops at MSP will continue, says Narendra Singh Tomar, Union agriculture ministerUpdated: Jun 07, 2020 01:38 IST
With the Punjab government targeting the Centre over an ordinance which allows barrier-free trade in the farm sector, Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Saturday said the ordinance would not violate the spirit of federal structure in any way.
Tomar also slammed opposition parties for creating “illusions” over the minimum support price (MSP) for foodgrain and said the assured price to farmers would continue.
“I want to clarify that this ordinance does not violate the spirit of the federal structure. Agriculture is a state subject but the Union government was empowered by the constitution to bring any reform related to agricultural produce. It’s a historical moment for the farmers as change in rules will end the inspector raj,” said Tomar, while addressing reporters here through videoconference.
The Union minister’s statement came a day after Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh dubbed the ordinance as “violative” of the federal structure. Captain had 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 Centre on Friday notified two key ordinances to kick in agriculture reforms and help farmers trade freely and fetch better prices.
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. It proposes to bar state governments from imposing taxes on sale and purchase of farm produce undertaken outside the mandis and give farmers the freedom to sell their produce at remunerative prices.
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.
Tomar said the state’s APMC Act will stay and the states continue to collect taxes within their mandis. He said the Centre had neither intention nor tried to force any law on any state. He was reacting to Amarinder Singh’s remarks that the law was forced on Punjab.
Defends Harsimrat’s statement
When questioned over Akali Dal’s statement on these reforms, especially by Bathinda MP and Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Tomar said, “The Akali Dal represents farmers and the party has all right to express all sort of feelings of the peasantry,”.
The ordinances, he said, were brought after through discussions in the cabinet.
“Moreover, Harisimrat has not said anything against ordinances at all. She had only reacted to questions over apprehensions on stopping the MSP system and rightly said that MSP should not be stopped. She has only cleared Centre’s position as MSP will continue,” said Tomar