Patiala Politics

Patiala News Politics

What Navjot Sidhu says in Patiala Press Conference

In Response to the highly malicious letter by Mr. Piyush Goyal, Union Minister to Punjab Chief Minister. I bring to light the false foundations of the letter, which is written with the clear intention to disrupt working of the APMC Mandi System in Punjab that allows for the implementation of the MSP in the state. This letter is part of a larger conspiracy to stall the procurement of wheat crop in Punjab and destroy Punjab’s Agricultural Economy. I shall elaborate these through the following four reasons:1. Though “Direct Payments” to farmers for their produce and labour, reads as an auspicious idea at the first glance. Mr. Goyal is patently wrong when he says that the Revenue Department of Punjab Government has all the information about land record of the farmers in the State. The information with Revenue Department is about ownership holdings. As per the data collected by National Sample Survey for year 2012-13, it shows that more than 24% of the land under cultivation in Punjab is under tenancy. These tenancy contracts are oral/unwritten in nature and mostly for one year period. The land under tenancy may have increased and not decreased over the years due to many socioeconomic factors. About tenancy contracts the Revenue Department has no information. Thus, If today the sale of wheat crop is allowed with ownership rights than more than 24% of the output in the State will not receive payment for sale of their crops.2. Those farmers who lease in land through oral/unwritten tenancy contracts can not get loans from official sources such as cooperatives, commercial banks, etc. due to non-registered land leases. They borrow money from the Arthiyas to pay rent in advance for the crops to be cultivated, followed by purchase of seeds, fertilisers, pesticides and to bear the cultivation cost of the crops on loan from the Arthiyas. This financial dependence on Arthiyas for supporting the cultivation of crops is widespread and not just limited to the tenancy farmers. These Farmers are likely to face difficulty in sale of wheat crop with conditions being imposed by the Union Government, along with marginalisation of the Arthiyas community who are the backbone of Punjab’s Agriculture Economy. Arthiyas are service provider to the Farmers, and their services are not just limited to the Mandis, in fact they bear the cost of cultivation, farmer debt and advance tenancy payments through a relationship of trust built with Farmers over decades. With use of flowery words such as Direct Payments, the Central Government is showing its limited understanding of Punjab’s economy, increasing complexities for farmers who give and take land under tenancy every six months/one year. This proves, that likewise Demonetisation, Draft Electricity Amendment Bill 2020 and proposing direct cash transfers for replacing PDS, this Central Government lacks an understanding of ground realities of Punjab and India, and is destroying the socioeconomic fabric of our society through its undemocratic approach and by not consulting the various stake-holders. Before taking action, Central Government should at least ask the Farmers, Arthiyas and Labourers, what do they want. In fact, all the three proposals for direct payments (Draft Electricity Amendment Bill, replacing PDS with Direct Cash Transfers and Direct Payments to Farmers) are Anti-Farmer, against the Federal structure and beneficial for corporate monopolisation of India’s Food and Agriculture Systems. This also uncovers the malicious design of the Central Government to create divide and disruption in Punjab’s Economy, pitching farmers against Arthiyas and Arthiyas against farmers, both of them looking for solutions from the Punjab state, which may not be able to solve all of them in the shorthand.3. This letter in spirit is contradictory to the Central Government’s slogan of “One Nation One Market”. In case of the sale of wheat crops in the APMC markets, the land record are being demanded. But there is no such condition being imposed for sale in the Private Markets. Thus, purposely creating an unequal mode of operations between APMC markets and Private Markets. In the Private Markets that are being promoted by this Government, not only both modes of payments, cash and online are available, and the farmer does not have to provide any proof of land where cultivation was done, unlike the APMC Markets. It is highly discriminatory and impinges on the spirit of the Constitution !4.The non-extension of Rs. 89,290 crore RBI loan to Punjab Government for procurement of grains will create a major hindrance in the working of the economy of Punjab. The RBI have been providing this facility for many decades. It’s sudden withdrawal is unreasonable and raising doubts over the real intent behind these actions. Whether the Central Government’s intentions are to punish the farmers who are currently agitating against Its three Farm Laws. This is an attack on co-operative Federalism. Meanwhile, Many Corporates have been given extensions even after defaulting on their debt, Corporate NPAs have ballooned on head of Government Banks. Central Government has been shielding and sponsoring corporates at cost of common people. While punishing the State Government and declaring it NPA, which has been using the money for procuring wheat and paddy from Farmers. The Punjab Government must demand a window period of at least ten year to change the cropping pattern from wheat-paddy and ease out of this debt trap, but this abrupt and arbitrary action is a method to derail the smooth working of Punjab’s Economy. In the window period of ten years, the State Government must be provided by the Union Government annually Rs. 10000-12000 crore as a special measure. Thus, in the spirit of co-operative federalism between the centre and the state, and to deliver social justice to the farmers, Arthiyas and labour, the change in the cropping pattern has to be worked by the joint efforts of the Government of India, Government of Punjab, and the farming community in the State.I conclude, that the Central Government plans to destroy Punjab’s successful MSP and APMC model regardless of three black laws being implemented or withdrawn. The timing of this letter is further questionable, as farmers prepare for cultivation of the Rabi crop, the withdrawal of Central Government’s support can be seen as mechanism to disrupt Punjab’s Peace, instigate Farmers and create a law & order situation in the State. This tantamounts to economic blackmail by the Central Government to force the Farmers and the Punjab State to withdraw their agitation against the three Farm Laws. I re-emphasise that I have been arguing since the last 9 months, we must as a State and its people, come together and build “an alternative economic model” for Punjab’s agricultural prosperity, walk the path of self-reliance and empowering our Farmers and Farm Labour. Delaying this even by a day, is costing Punjab dearly !

Facebook Comments