Punjab governor says farm laws don't address farmers' stagnating income problem
The Budget session of the Punjab Assembly began on a stormy note with opposition Akali Dal and AAP raising slogans during the address by the Governor, who said the new central farm laws do not address the problem of farmers' "stagnating incomes".
The Governor’s address customarily reflects the stand of the state government. In Punjab, the Congress government has backed the farmers’ agitation against the three new laws.
But the Shiromani Akali Dal, criticised Governor V P Singh Badnore for not sending for the President’s consideration the Bills passed by the state Assembly last year to "counter" the laws.
SAD members led by Bikram Singh Majithia came to the well of the House, shouted slogans and hurled papers in the air as the Governor began his address. They continued raising slogans during the almost 20-minute-long speech of the Governor.
Aam Aadmi Party members also shouted slogans against the state government for its alleged failure in keeping its poll promises.
Addressing the House, the Punjab Governor said, "My government is fully alive to the concerns of the farmers in the State as they are the pivot of the state's economy. We will not let the farmers and the farm workers suffer in any manner."
Badnore said the Asssembly members are aware of the devastation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Thereafter, the agitation against three new farm laws enacted by the Government of India led to quite an unprecedented situation in the state,” said Badnore.
The Governor said though the pandemic is presently under control, the farmers' agitation and its resultant effect on the farming communities is causing a "lot of anxiety" among the common man.
Badnore said farmers feel that the new legislations enacted by the Centre do not address their concerns of "stagnating incomes" as a result of saturating productivity.
"They apprehend that these laws would disrupt the time-tested agriculture marketing systems established under the Punjab Agricultural Produce Markets Act, 1961. There are also apprehensions about the dismantling of the government procurement of foodgrain at the minimum support price (MSP)," said Badnore.
The Governor said his government had taken these concerns of farmers seriously. The House passed three amendment legislations to mitigate the anticipated adverse impact of the Central laws, he said.
"These legislations are pending for the Presidential assent under Article 254 of the Constitution," he said.
"My government strongly feels that the enactment of these three central laws is against the principles of cooperative federalism as agriculture is a state subject under entry 14 of List II of Schedule 7 of the Constitution," he said.
"The state chief minister has time and again urged the prime minister to reconsider these laws, concede to the demand of farmers and withdraw these new central legislations," said Badnore.
On Covid-19, the governor stated that the pandemic has been contained but this should not be a reason to be complacent.
"My government shall continue to exercise due care and caution to prevent the resurgence of this virus in near future," he said.