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Punjab doesn't want confrontation with Centre over farm laws: Manpreet Badal

Speaking at a virtual event, Manpreet Badal said the Centre should not tinker with the existing system of the minimum support price (MSP) and procurement as it has stood the test of time.

October 23, 2020 / 08:01 PM IST
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Punjab is not looking at any confrontation with the Centre and is only urging it to shed its arrogance and consult stakeholders before implementing the farm laws, state Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal said on Friday.

Speaking at a virtual event, Badal said the Centre should not tinker with the existing system of the minimum support price (MSP) and procurement as it has stood the test of time.

He said knowing how diverse India is, the Centre should consider having more models for selling farm produce as one model may not suit all states.

"We are not looking at any confrontation with the Government of India. All Punjab is saying is — why do you want to tinker with the system which has stood the test of time and made India self-sufficient in food," he said.

"Why the arrogance that only we know best’. In a diverse and big country like India, one model may not suit every part and we could have two or more models to suit every state,” he said at an event organised by the Public Affairs Forum of India (PAFI).

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The finance minister’s remarks came in the wake of the Punjab assembly passing four bills to negate the Centre’s farm laws.

Punjab is opposing the farm laws and has urged the Centre to have a relook into them, saying they will leave farmers at the mercy of private players.

The central farm laws have opened up the agriculture sector, enabling private players to buy foodgrain directly from farmers.

Badal said all Punjab was against allowing "fly-by-night" operators and permit only those private parties registered with either the state or central government to procure foodgrain from farmers and not cheat them.

They should also ensure buying of foodgrain above the MSP as the entire food security system would collapse otherwise, the minister added.

"Food security is as important as national security. I am sure India’s policymakers would think it there,” he said.

Badal said Punjab is currently diversifying its crops and the process will take another decade.

"Diversification cannot be abrupt, it has to be organic. Diversification in Punjab is a work in progress,” he said.
PTI

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