Punjab Bills will harm farmers’ interests, claims Agri Ministry

‘To hinder private investment in farm sector’

Punjab Bills will harm farmers’ interests, claims Agri Ministry

Farmers and their families protest near Amritsar. photo: Vishal Kumar

Vibha Sharma

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 27

The three farm Bills passed by the Punjab Assembly recently will “limit” the farmers’ competitiveness, “disincentivise” private investment and “hinder” the overall growth of the agriculture sector, claims an assessment by the Union Agriculture Ministry.

It said provisions in the Punjab Bills were in contradiction with the central Acts. The Bills suggest that implementation of the central Acts will depend on the notification in the official gazette by the state despite these being already in force. “Such a change in the date of implementation of the central Acts with a retrospective effect is unlawful,” it adds.

There is a clause in the Punjab law suggesting that no sale or purchase of wheat and paddy will be valid unless the price paid is equal to or greater than the MSP announced by the Union Government, whereas the Acts do not deal with the MSP at all, it says.

“The Acts provide for mutual agreement on the price between the buyer and the seller based on market forces and independent of the MSP. This will allow farmers to mutually finalise prices with buyers based on quality, variety etc. in addition to continued access to MSP procurement by the government,” it adds. The analysis by the Agriculture Ministry is expected to be included in Centre’s observations on the Bills.

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